A Florida State University professor whose work was foundational to perpetuating the false narrative that there is widespread “systemic racism” infecting American society has been fired for falsifying data in his academic research on the subject.
In a recently resurfaced report from last month, the New York Post revealed that Eric Stewart, an FSU criminology professor, had been fired by the university “on account of ‘extreme negligence’ in his research,” as well as “incompetence” and producing “false results” in his nearly 20 years of work.
“I do not see how you can teach our students to be ethical researchers or how the results of future research projects conducted by you could be deemed as trustworthy,” FSU Provost James Clark wrote in a July 13 letter formally notifying Stewart of his firing.
According to the Post, Stewart has had six studies published in major academic journals between 2003 and 2019 that were “fully retracted,” including a 2019 study claiming the historical legacy of lynchings “made whites perceive blacks as criminals, and that the problem was worse among conservatives.”
Stewart’s retracted research also included claims that racial disparities in criminal sentencing are racially motivated. In a 2015 study, for instance, Stewart suggested Americans supported tougher sentencing for Hispanics because they feared an increase in the U.S. Latino population and Latinos’ potential economic success.
Other retracted studies include a 2018 analysis which “suggested that white Americans view black and Latino people as ‘criminal threats,’ and suggested that perceived threat could lead to ‘state-sponsored social control,’” the Post added.
Clark indicated in his letter that Stewart’s other published works are “in doubt.”
Rather than own up to his actions, Stewart has since attempted to play the victim card and attacked Justin Pickett, a former FSU graduate student who reported Stewart for his unethical conduct. Following the launch of the investigation into his work in 2020, Stewart, who is black, claimed that by raising concerns about his faulty research, Pickett had “essentially lynched [him] and [his] academic character.”
In addition to his $190,000 annual salary at FSU, Stewart’s projects received millions in research grants from major groups and government agencies. According to the Post, the National Institute of Mental Health — which falls under the National Institute of Health — reportedly gave Stewart $3.2 million to research “how African Americans transition into adulthood.”
Stewart also reportedly received funds from the National Science Foundation, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and the National Institute of Justice, a subsidiary of the Department of Justice.
The discovery of Stewart’s falsified research and his subsequent firing is significant to understanding the left’s ongoing war on American police officers. As noted by Wilfred Reilly, an associate professor at Kentucky State University, Stewart is “[p]robably THE academic [figure] responsible” for the debunked narrative that so-called “systemic racism” plagues U.S. police departments throughout the country.
According to Google Scholar, for instance, Stewart’s questionable — and in several cases, categorically false — works have garnered more than 8,500 citations by other researchers. Stewart’s “research” has been used as a pretext by other academics, regime-approved media, and Democrat politicians to smear America’s on-the-ground law enforcement officers as inherently “racist” towards non-white Americans.
“The point [of this story] is that one of the [main] guys who built up the entire narrative of ‘wokeness’ just made it up,” Reilly told The Federalist. “Throughout the entire kind of racial reckoning, one of the things that I and others … have noticed is that these stories [about police brutality against black Americans] keep collapsing. The narrative of police genocide of African Americans turned out … to be complete nonsense.”
Reilly also referenced research conducted by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, whose analyses of publicly available data have debunked leftists’ narrative that there is an epidemic of police killing unarmed black Americans. In a USA Today article published a few months after George Floyd’s death, for instance, Mac Donald noted how even data from The Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings dispels such claims and predicted that “[r]educing police resources will ultimately result in poorer service to the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas.”
Mac Donald’s forecast ultimately came true. While the rise of Black Lives Matter and Democrat-generated attacks on police began under the Obama administration, it was Floyd’s death that ushered in a new era of the left’s war on America’s police. Democrat politicos and their legacy media allies quickly hijacked Floyd’s death to normalize street violence committed by their communist foot soldiers.
The left’s perpetuation of the false “systemic racism in policing” narrative and their subsequent actions not only killed people such as David Dorn, but countless others who suffered because their Democrat-run cities defunded local law enforcement.
Following Floyd’s death and the anti-police back it launched, there was a significant spike in overall murders, especially affecting black victims. According to Reilly, such statistics don’t interest groups like Black Lives Matter because “a focus on things that might actually correlate with a high loss of black life … [is] not what the movement was about.”
BLM “was about using outlier conflict between blacks and whites to get money,” Reilly said. “The whole idea was to take these very isolated, white cop or white vigilantes on black male cases and present them as normal. They did that for a while. It turned out not to be real and they’ve pulled back from the scene, now as the owners of some nice properties. And now we’re left to clean up the mess.”