In news that will come as no surprise to many people, an analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings from 1980-2012 by ProPublica has found that
Who Gets Killed?
The finding that young black men are 21 times as likely as their white peers to be killed by police is drawn from reports filed for the years 2010 to 2012, the three most recent years for which FBI numbers are available.
The black boys killed can be disturbingly young. There were 41 teens 14 years or younger reported killed by police from 1980 to 2012 ii. 27 of them were black iii; 8 were white iv; 4were Hispanic v and 1 was Asian vi.
That’s not to say officers weren’t killing white people. Indeed, some 44 percent of all those killed by police across the 33 years were white.
White or black, though, those slain by police tended to be roughly the same age. The average age of blacks killed by police was 30. The average age of whites was 35.
Who is killing all those black men and boys?
Mostly white officers. But in hundreds of instances, black officers, too. Black officers account for a little more than 10 percent of all fatal police shootings. Of those they kill, though, 78percent were black.
White officers, given their great numbers in so many of the country’s police departments, are well represented in all categories of police killings. White officers killed 91 percent of the whites who died at the hands of police. And they were responsible for 68 percent of the people of color killed. Those people of color represented 46 percent of all those killed by white officers.
What were the circumstances surrounding all these fatal encounters?
There were 151 instances in which police noted that teens they had shot dead had been fleeing or resisting arrest at the time of the encounter. 67 percent of those killed in such circumstances were black. That disparity was even starker in the last couple of years: of the15 teens shot feeling arrest from 2010 to 2012, 14 were black.
Did police always list the circumstances of the killings? No, actually, there were many deadly shooting where the circumstances were listed as “undetermined.” 77 percent of those killed in such instances were black.
Certainly, there were instances where police truly feared for their lives.
Of course, although the data show that police reported that as the cause of their actions in far greater numbers after the 1985 Supreme Court decision that said police could only justify using deadly force if the suspects posed a threat to the officer or others. From 1980 to 1984, “officer under attack” was listed as the cause for 33 percent of the deadly shootings. Twenty years later, looking at data from 2005 to 2009, “officer under attack” was cited in 62 percentxxxvii of police killings.
Does the data include cases where police killed people with something other than a standard service handgun?
Yes, and the Los Angeles Police Department stood out in its use of shotguns. Most police killings involve officers firing handguns xl. But from 1980 to 2012, 714 involved the use of a shotgun xli. The Los Angeles Police Department has a special claim on that category. It accounted for 47 cases xlii in which an officer used a shotgun. The next highest total came from the Dallas Police Department: 14 xliii.
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Sara Lindenmuth told KRDO that a Rocky Ford police officer forced down the door to their home sometime after her brother-in-law, 27-year-old Jack Jacquez, came home around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
She recalled that the two men started shouting at each other.
“He was standing next to his mom, his back turned toward the officer and then he shot him twice in the back and then pepper sprayed him,” Lindenmuth said. “Then they hand cuffed his fiancé, for reasons I don’t know why. And the mom went to call the cops and the cop took her phone and threw it against the wall.”
“He just showed up,” she insisted. “No one knows why he just showed up. It just all happened unexpectedly.”
Jacquez’s fiance, Mariah, told KKTV that he had been out late because he was helping a friend babysit. She said she was asleep when she heard the gunshots.
“Came out, gun shots firing. Found my fiancé on the floor. He couldn’t breathe,” she explained.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was reportedly investigating the case. KKTV identified the officer as James Ashby. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
We’re long past the point where police powers need to be curtailed. All too often, on nearly a daily basis, stories emerge of police harassing, profiling, brutalizing, and killing citizens–often on spurious grounds. This is very much a police state that we live in and people have become far too accepting of this.
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Not all cases of police brutality involve humans.
Earlier this year, 28-year-old, Baltimore city cop Alec Eugene Taylor became enraged when his girlfriend’s seven-month-old Jack Russell terrier “Rocko” had an accident on the floor.
Taylor savagely beat the dog with a mop, and then strangled it until it was no longer breathing. Taylor then heartlessly took photos of the dead puppy and sent them to his girlfriend like it was no big deal.
According to the Washington Post, the following text message exchange took place between Taylor and his now ex-girlfriend, Deborah Avila.
“I almost killed rocko, he took a wet s*** all over the carpet after I let him outside.” Taylor reportedly wrote late in the afternoon on Feb. 26.
He then sent a photo of the dog to Avila, who responded by asking,“Why is he laying like that?”
“I beat him, I might of paralyzed him,” Taylor replied.
“Is he walking?” Avila asked.
“Nope… I think he’s pretty much dead. Imma throw him out now,” Taylor responded.
Cruelty to animals is part of The MacDonald Triad, traits that often are demonstrated in sociopaths from a young age. It says an individual who is able to engage in cruelty to animals may have no conscience and no remorse for their behavior.
Note the last two sentences of the quoted material above. Is this the kind of person that should be a police officer? I wonder if law enforcement officials have to submit to psychological testing to determine their mental fitness?
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Samantha Bee and Jason Jones report on how broken the system is. Click the link to watch the video.
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On October 7, the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board published a report that analyzes the use of chokeholds by NYPD officers over the past year. The report found that between July 2013 and June 2014, the CCRB received 219 chokehold complaints, the highest number seen since the period between 2006-2010 when over 200 chokehold complaints were being filed annually. This year, CCRB also received the highest relative level of chokehold complaints registered since 2001—7.6 out of every 100 use-of-force complaints were for chokeholds.
According to the NYPD Patrol Guide, the use of chokeholds against civilian suspects is illegal. This has been the case for more than 20 years.
A chokehold, as defined in the NYPD’s use-of-force policy, is “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.” However, as the report points out, due to the NYPD and CCRB refusal to enforce the chokehold rule, the mandate was watered down. Instead of prohibiting officers from applying any pressure to the neck that “may” interfere with breathing, civilians hoping to register complaints must now be able to prove that the chokeholds they endured resulted in actual, sustained interference with breathing.
The report was commissioned this past July, following the death of 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, whom NYPD officers placed in a chokehold while trying to book him for selling untaxed cigarettes. During the encounter, which was videotaped and went viral soon after, Garner shouted, “I can’t breathe” eleven times as officers continued to swarm around him. A medical examiner later confirmed that Garner’s death was a homicide—a direct result of being put in a chokehold.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s pandering reaction to Garner’s death was to announce that he’d be retraining the entire NYPD in acceptable use-of-force practices when engaging with a suspect. However, though shrugging off civilian complaints and letting officers off the hook is routine and systematic in New York City, the practice of administering chokeholds is limited to a group of abusive cops who perpetually dodge disciplinary action. The CCRB report found that half of the officers who had chokehold complaints filed against them have a history of six or more misconduct complaints; a quarter of them have more than 10. All told, the 554 officers involved in chokehold complaints have had an average of seven misconduct complaints filed against them.
The report is sobering and thorough in its findings, but its conclusions miss the mark. The report praises Bratton for his efforts to retrain NYPD officers and conduct a review of the NYPD’s use of force policies. Its main additional recommendation is “the creation of an inter-agency collaboration between the NYPD and the CCRB in order to strengthen data collection and analysis.” In other words, the institution that supposedly represents the interests of civilians wants to work even more closely with the disproportionately powerful law enforcers who sometimes target them