Before The Final Frame: When Police Missteps Create Danger
In dashboard- and body-camera footage, officers could be seen shooting at cars driving away, or threatening deadly force in their first words to motorists, or surrounding sleeping drivers with a ring of gun barrels then shooting them when, startled awake, they tried to take off. More than three-quarters of the unarmed motorists were killed while attempting to flee.
We have got to take him out, an Oklahoma state trooper declared over the radio in 2019 to patrolmen chasing a man in McAlester suspected of shoplifting a bottle of vodka. The officers used their cars to forcehis S.U.V. from the road,opened a door as it rolled slowly past and shot from both sides, killing the driver, dashcam footage shows.
A Tennessee sheriff ordered his deputies to fire at a motorist with a suspended license in 2017: Dont ram him, shoot him! he later recounted saying, according to a body-camera recording. Knocking the man off the highway might tear my cars up!
Some families of the drivers said that their relatives were not blameless.I dont have my head buried in the sand, said Deborah Lilly, whose 29-year-old son, Tyler Hays, had drugs in his car and tried to run away when he was pulled over for tinted windows last year by a sheriffs deputy in Hamilton County, Tenn. I am just saying he did not deserve to get shot in the back.
The overemphasis on danger has fostered tolerance for police misconduct at vehicle stops, some argue.
How Many People Are Killed By Police
Thursday, July 14, 2016
How many people are killed by police?
Its a simple and important question, but, until this year, the shocking answer was we have no idea. There is no central authority systematically keeping track of killings by law enforcement, and police in most states are not required to report the use of lethal force to anyone.
Government Data: Worse than Useless
The FBIs annual crime report does keep track of homicides reported by police as justified killings by police. As defined by the FBI, justifiable homicide by law enforcement means the killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty. From 2000 to 2014, the FBI reported an average of 390 justifiable homicides by police each year, with a very slight upward trend.
The obvious question was, how many unjustifiable killings were committed by law enforcement? There is no report for that at all: unjustified homicides by police would, in theory, be recorded as generic murders. Moreover, because police departments themselves decide what is justifiable, theres plenty of room for doubt about whether all those homicides really were justified or whether police actually reported all of their killings.
So despite two federal databases, there was no clear picture on the number of police killings, and the data was hopelessly muddled by states and agencies not participating or reporting conflicting numbers.
A Post-Ferguson Accounting
Tyre King: The Youngest
Tyre King, 13, was shot by police after officers had chased him into an alley during a robbery investigation. According to the Los Angeles Times, King fit the description of one of three suspects in a robbery and was running from police. He later pulled a BB gun from his waistband before officer Bryan Mason, who is white, opened fire. The Times reported that Mason hit King “several times” and that King died 30 minutes later at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The Times reported that King was a student at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy. He was the youngest black person shot and killed by police in 2016. The youngest person killed by police in 2016 was Ciara Meyer, 12, who was shot by a stray bullet during an eviction.
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Black People More Than Three Times As Likely As White People To Be Killed During A Police Encounter
Black Americans are 3.23 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The researchers examined 5,494 police-related deaths in the U.S. between 2013 and 2017. Rates of deadly police encounters were higher in the West and South than in the Midwest and Northeast, according to the study. Racial disparities in killings by police varied widely across the country, with some metropolitan areas showing very high differences between treatment by race. Black Chicagoans, for example, were found to be over 650% more likely to be killed by police than white Chicagoans.
The wide variance in deaths by police shows how preventable these deaths are, study authors Jaquelyn Jahn and Gabriel Schwartz, recent graduates from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, told UPI in a June 24 article.
What The Data Say About Police Shootings
On Tuesday 6 August, the police shot and killed a schoolteacher outside his home in Shaler Township, Pennsylvania. He had reportedly pointed a gun at the officers. In Grants Pass, Oregon, that same day, a 39-year-old man was shot and killed after an altercation with police in the state police office. And in Henderson, Nevada, that evening, an officer shot and injured a 15-year-old suspected of robbing a convenience store. The boy reportedly had an object in his hand that the police later confirmed was not a deadly weapon.
In the United States, police officers fatally shoot about three people per day on average, a number thats close to the yearly totals for other wealthy nations. But data on these deadly encounters have been hard to come by.
A pair of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by the police pushed this reality into the headlines in summer 2014. Waves of public protests broke out after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death by chokehold of Eric Garner in New York City.
It is this awesome power that they have that no other profession has, says Justin Nix, a criminologist at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Lets keep track of it.
We need to standardize definitions and start counting, says Stoughton. As the old saying goes, What gets measured, gets managed.
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The Role Of Mental Illness And Suicide In Deaths Due To The Use Of Lethal Force
Agencies of LE frequently serve as first-line responders to mental health emergencies, including crises involving violence., Officers in a study of three U.S. cities reported responding to an average of 6.4 calls/month involving mental health crises. About 20% of people hospitalized for severe mental illness, in another study, had been arrested or picked up by police for a suspected crime in the prior 4-month period. Indeed, two decades of research have documented high rates of LE contact, arrest, and incarceration rates for individuals with mental illness. Officers often report feeling inadequately trained to assess and respond effectively as gatekeepers for both the criminal justice and mental health systems, and community leaders have raised concerns for many years about the safety of citizens with mental health crises who often encounter, and rely on, LE.,,,
Related incidents in which the victim engaged in life-threatening or criminal behavior to provoke the use of lethal force by policewidely referred to as suicide by cophave also been recognized by LE and criminal justice researchers for several decades as a unique challenge. In the current study, 17.9% of fatalities due to the use of force were identified as potential suicide by cop incidents, a number within range of prior estimates.,
Spotlight On A Blind Spot
In December 2014, spurred by unrest in the wake of Ferguson, then-US president, Barack Obama, created a task force to investigate policing practices. The group issued a report five months later, highlighting a need for expanded research and data collection . The data historically collected by the federal government on fatal shootings were sorely lacking. Almost two years later, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation responded with a pilot project to create an online national database of fatal and non-fatal use of force by law-enforcement officers. The FBI director at the time, James Comey, called the lack of comprehensive national data unacceptable and embarrassing.
Full data collection started this year. But outsiders had already begun to gather the data in the interests of informing the public. The database considered to be the most complete is maintained by The Washington Post. In 2015, the newspaper began collecting information on fatal shootings from local news reports, public records and social media. Its records indicate that police officers shoot and kill around 1,000 civilians each year about twice the number previously counted by the FBI.
Body cameras worn by police officers can capture crucial information.Credit: Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office/Reuters
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Police Kill More Whites Than Blacks Is True And It Isnt
Men lie, women lie and they both use numbers when it favors them.
This rebuttal is used to downplay black Americas outrage and its sad to say, the stats are unfairly true whats more concerning is that its unfairly used. Whether the stats are true or not, its insensitive to use statistics to indirectly tell a parent that the unjustifiable acts by the police
What The Data Shows
The Posts database documents fatal police shootings that have happened since Jan. 1, 2015. The Post said its team relies primarily on news accounts, social media postings and police reports in addition to its own reporting.
This data does not include deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.
The Posts data shows police fatally shot 13 unarmed Black men in 2019, five more people than Kirk claimed. Also, police fatally shot an unarmed Black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, 28, on Oct. 12 in Fort Worth Texas. But the Post’s database covers only shootings. It does not include deaths caused by beating, tasering or vehicles. George Floyds died in police custody after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, which would not have been included in the Posts data set.
The Post regularly updates the database as information about cases is released, so its possible it showed eight unarmed Black male deaths instead of 13 at the time Kirk posted the video. Its also possible the number will continue to rise as more information about deaths in 2019 comes to light.
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The Number Of People Killed By Police Dropped Slightly In 2016
This year the number of people killed by police stands at 957, down slightly from 991 in 2015, according to the Washington Post. While white men accounted for the most deaths by police, black men were three times more likely to be killed when population rates were factored in. Washington Post Reporter Kimbriell Kelly, one of the authors of the year-end report, joins Alison Stewart to discuss.
Eliminating Preventable Deaths Due To The Use Of Lethal Force
The need for effective strategies to reduce preventable legal intervention fatalities has resulted in numerous recommendations from policing organizations, policy-makers, federal and state agencies, researchers, and concerned communities. One recommendation has been to increase training in tactical disengagement and conflict de-escalation., Recent reports have called for restructuring police culture around the core principle of sanctity of all human life, emphasizing the need to slow the situation down or tactically disengage as an alternative to the current model of never back down, move in and take charge., Several police departments around the U.S. are currently implementing training in tactical disengagement, de-escalation, and preservation of life, some modeled on programs in other countries like the United Kingdom, that have successfully reduced their use of force., Related approaches may include changes to training or policy on use of less than lethal force technologies, such as chemical sprays or conducted energy devices, to control or incapacitate combative individuals, with some evidence suggesting decreased officer and civilian injuries associated with agency adoption of these tools., Further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of these approaches in reducing both civilian and LE injuries.
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Racial Disparities By Type Of Shooting
Examination of National Violent Death Reporting System data shows racial differences across types of fatal shootings. Black civilians fatally shot by police are more likely to be unarmed and less likely to pose an immediate threat to officers . In contrast, White civilians are nearly three times more likely to be fatally shot by police when the incident is related to mental-health concerns and are seven times more likely to commit suicide by cop . These are incidents where a civilian threatens a police officer for the purpose of ending their life and reflect higher rates of suicide overall among Whites relative to Black and Hispanic civilians .
Racial differences in the frequency of certain types of FOIS matter because they may mask racial disparities in other types of fatal shootings. Even if a person fatally shot during a criminal encounter is more likely to be Black than White, this disparity will be difficult to detect if White civilians commit suicide by police intervention more frequently and such cases represent a large proportion of the overall FOIS. As past work has not distinguished between shootings where the civilian is or is not suicidal, it is unclear how much these disparities cancel each other out.
Winston Joseph Latour Iii
Lake Charles, Louisiana
According to CBS affiliate KFMB, 37-year-old Winston Joseph Latour III was killed by Lake Charles police officers, who said they responded to a claim that Latour was driving an allegedly stolen vehicle. When the officers located the vehicle, Latour drove away and a chase ensued, ending when Latour crashed into a house, police said.
Officers, who said Latour had a firearm, shot him. Latour died at the scene.
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Germonta Wallace: The First
Germonta Wallace, 30, was shot and killed by police on Jan. 4, 2016. Wallace was on the run from police after being named a suspect in the killing of Norris Martin, whose body was found in the trunk of a burning car. Wallace had reportedly gotten out of prison a few months prior and was working with a janitorial service.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Wallace died after a lengthy gunfight with eight Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. His aunt, Deborah Wallace, said to reporters regarding how the fight between her nephew and police started: “I actually don’t know how it went down. We don’t know who was doing the shooting. We don’t know if it was police or who.” The officers involved in the shooting did not face charges.
Case Identification And Narrative Coding
Cases in the current study originated from statewide data for the 17 states participating in NVDRS during the study period. All cases classified in NVDRS as legal intervention deaths or homicides in which the perpetrator was an LE officer were selected and narratives were reviewed to ensure they met the NVDRS case definition for legal intervention deaths. In addition to analysis of existing NVDRS variables, case narratives were reviewed and coded by the authors for an additional ten variables developed for the current study. These included:
police contact/incident directly related to concerns about the victims current psychological functioning and
LE contact or legal intervention involved intimate partner violence .
All narrative coding was completed by the authors. A randomly selected sample of 75 cases were coded in pairs. Inter-rater agreement ranged from 87.8% to 100% all discrepancies were discussed and coded to consensus. The remaining cases were coded independently with group discussion as needed.
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The Claim: Us Police Killed Eight Unarmed Black Men In 2019
In response to the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd, Charlie Kirk, the founder and president of the conservative group Turning Point USA, posted a statement on Facebook.
Kirk claimed in a during the Blackout Tuesday campaign that, according to the Washington Posts database of police shootings, police killed eight unarmed Black men in 2019. Other Facebook pages have reposted the video, adding to its viewership.
Kirk uses this figure while arguing that systemic racism does not exist within law enforcement. He did not mention in the video that Black Americans make up 13% of the population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans, as the Post reported. He also did not mention, as explained by Naomi Zack in her book on racial profiling and police homicide that “when 4.4 million random stop and frisks were conducted in New York City, during the period from 2004 2012, even though Blacks were disproportionately singled out, the incidence of further police action was less for Blacks than for whites.”
Kirk’s claim that police killed eight unarmed Black men in 2019 is incorrect for several reasons.
Perception Of Violence And Race
Why are African-Americans more likely to be killed? To understand that, one needs to dive into sociology. African-Americans are more likely to live in low-income neighborhoods and suffer from a lack of access to basic facilities. That leads to a rise in crime rates, which in turn leads to aggressive over-policing and the use of force. It’s a deadly cycle that is an inherent part of American life. Historically, African-Americans are also incarcerated at higher rates than White Americans. Both these factors lead people to perceive Black Americans are more dangerous, a bias that police officers implicitly have.
It’s not just police officers, the perception that African Americans are more dangerous is a common bias shared by many Americans. Joshua Correl, a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, found that “civilians were more likely to shoot unarmed Black men, relative to unarmed White men and even armed White men, which was attributed to the stereotypes associating Black people with danger.”
That stereotype isn’t new. Going back to the colonial empire, White men have always viewed Blacks as “savages”, over the years that bias has been fine-tuned to fit into modern society. Today, racial bias against African-Americans takes many forms. The link between violence and race is seen in more overt examples like incarceration and police violence, and subtle ones like hiring and firing.
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