Harvard economics Professor Roland Fryer needed armed security with him to go out in public after he published a study finding no evidence of racial bias in officer-involved shootings, he said in an interview with The Free Press founder Bari Weiss.

Fryer, a top economist who became the youngest tenured black professor in Harvard’s history at just 30 years old, published a study in 2016 showing there was “no racial differences in officer involved-shootings.” After he published the study, “all hell broke loose,” Fryer told Weiss, noting people “lose their mind when they don’t like the result.”

“I lived under police protection for about 30 to 40 days,” he said during the interview. “I had a seven day old daughter at the time…I was going to the grocery store to get diapers with an armed guard.”

Fryer told Weiss he initially became interested in the topic after the shooting of Michael Brown and some other “early viral videos of police violence.” He said he was “surprised” by the result because he expected to find evidence of bias.

After the study was complete, Fryer said he hired eight additional freshmen to redo the study but came up with the same result.

“On the most extreme use of force – officer involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account,” Fryer’s study found.

Colleagues warned him not to publish it because it would “ruin” his career, Fryer said.

“It was posted for four minutes when I got my first email, ‘This is full of sh*t. Doesn’t make any sense,” he said, recalling the first reaction after publication.

In 2019, Fryer was placed on a two-year leave after facing allegations of sexual harassment. Claudine Gay, who was Harvard’s dean at the time, said in a letter to the economics department that he had “exhibited a pattern of behavior that failed to meet expectations of conduct within our community.”

“Do you believe in karma?” Weiss asked.

Gay resigned from her position as Harvard’s president early January after facing scrutiny over her response to antisemitism on campus and plagiarism allegations.

“I hear it’s a motherfucker,” Fryer responded.

Katelynn Richardson on February 17, 2024

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