‘My Son Was Shot in the Back of the Head’ -Review of Police Homocides and Opinion.
There are several hundred people who die annually during encounters with local law enforcement (or shortly thereafter in hospitals, as measured in one database). Variations across years and jurisdictions may be attributable to a variety of factors, including increased use of Tasers, and increases in the proportion of justifiable homicides by law enforcement that involved victims deemed mentally ill. For example, Loftin et al. found that Supplemental Homicide Report data for justifiable homicides by police in 1976-98 differed significantly from National Vital Statistics Data on deaths at both the national and statewide levels. The authors concluded that both databases under-report justifiable homicides by police.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) analyses of FBI data on justifiable homicides show that such killings declined from 1980 to the early 1990s, then rose again in the mid-1990s, declined till 2000, then rose slightly again. Although the data trends described above apply to both justifiable homicides by law enforcement and private citizens, the BJS report notably stated, “The number of justifiable homicides committed by police exceeded the number committed by citizens.”
Unfortunately, there are notably different ways that law enforcement-related deaths are defined and measured, which makes comparisons across data sources, jurisdictions, and years problematic. In addition, there are missing data for some jurisdictions for some time periods.
This is a very in depth article regarding homocide by Law Enforcement in the United States. The authors review the data, the sources, and the method of collection. They also examine: :
-THE MILITARIZATION OF DOMESTIC LAW ENFORCEMENT
-JUSTIFYING USE OF FORCE
-GIVING VOICE TO VICTIMS’ FAMILIES -involving 14 case studies and interviews with families.
-MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE ANDY LOPEZ CASE
-EXTERNAL ACCOUNTABILITY AS ONE POTENTIAL SOLUTION
Included in the conclusion:
The national push toward militarized police with homeland security oversight is certainly not reducing this death rate. Long-term racism continues to show abuses affecting people of color to greater degrees than white people. The culture of policing tends to reward aggressive behavior and diminish efforts to mitigate shooting deaths. And families of law enforcement-related death victims are mistreated and abused by police departments and the corporate media.
They also recommend better mental health outreach, coordination of services, training of non-lethal ways to handle the mentally ill among other solutions.
It’s a good article, read it.
I would like to add that I am a non-shooter from a strong 2nd Amendment family. I was raised that the Police are a necessary part of our Representative Government and we should support their work.
All the recent cases in the news make me ashamed of law enforcement. The death of unarmed youth, reports of law enforcement officers shooting people in the back and it being called “Justifiable” is truly unbelievable. I want to believe this cannot happen in my country.
One case that does stand out is that of Ramos & Compean, In which it took federal attention to free the Border Patrol Agents who shot a person in the back. One case in which there was a conviction of law enforcement & there was enough public outcry that the agents involved were eventually released from prison.
They have real reasons to fear and to have the choice of using lethal force. Yet, individual officers cannot read minds, they do not have the benefit of hindsight. They do what they think they must.
For a variety of reasons the tool most have is a firearm. It’s reliable. I’ve heard for years that the idea of a non-lethal weapon is a “nice idea”. Tasers are available, but aren’t widely used. Law Enforcement, now more than ever, needs a Star Trek Phaser then can set to stun.
Don’t laugh. It’s possible. Maybe not in your imagination, yet it’s possible. I just think the Gun Lobby isn’t ready to give up their market share. Every Law Enforcement Officer, every Soldier … .that’s a lot of money. Much more profitable to ignore the status quo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pointing fingers at more than the Gun Lobby. There is a lot of money being made — more than those involved in firearm manufacturing are profiting.
Can you say Homeland Security, Private Prisons?, The War on Terror? There are many livlihoods reliant on crime.
That doesn’t mean people have to die by cop.
Perhaps the young computer gurus will find a way …