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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Police Involved Shooting Statistics: A National One-Year Summary

     In 2011, according to data I collected, police officers in the United States shot 1,146  people, killing 607. Between January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012 I used the Internet to compile a national database of police involved shootings. The term "police involved shooting" pertains to law enforcement officers who, in the line of duty, discharge their guns. When journalists and police administrators use the term, they include the shooting of animals and shots that miss their targets. My case files only include instances in which a person is either killed or wounded by police gunfire. My data also includes off-duty officers who discharged their weapons in law enforcement situations. They don't include, for example, officers using their firearms to resolve personal disputes.

     I collected this data myself because the U.S. Government doesn't. There is no national database dedicated to police involved shootings. Alan Maimon, in his article, "National Data on Shootings by Police Not Collected," published on November 28, 2011 in the "Las Vegas Review-Journal," wrote "The nation's leading law enforcement agency [FBI] collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life."

     Since the government keeps statistics on just about everything, why no national stats on something this important? The answer is simple: they don't want us to know. Why? Because police shoot a lot more people than we think, and the government, while good at statistics, is also good at secrecy.

     The government does maintain records on how many police officers are killed every year in the line of duty. In 2010, 59 officers were shot to death among 122 killed while on the job. This marked a 20 percent jump from 2009 when 49 officers were killed by gunfire. In 2011, 173 officers died, from all causes, in the line of duty. The fact police officers feel they are increasingly under attack from the public may help explain why they are shooting so many citizens.

Who The Police Shoot

     A vast majority of the people shot by the police in 2011 were men between the ages 25 and 40 who had histories of crime. Overall, people shot by the police were much older than the typical first-time arrestee. A significant number of the people wounded and killed by the authorities were over fifty, some in their eighties. In 2011, the police shot two 15-year-olds, and a girl who was 16.

     The police shot, in 2011, about 50 women, most of whom were armed with knives and had histories of emotional distress. Overall, about a quarter of those shot were either mentally ill and/or suicidal. Many of these were "suicide-by-cop" cases.

     Most police shooting victims were armed with handguns. The next most common weapon involved vehicles (used as weapons), followed by knives (and other sharp objects), shotguns, and rifles. Very few of these people carried assault weapons, and a small percentage were unarmed. About 50 subjects were armed with BB-guns, pellet guns or replica firearms.

     The situations that brought police shooters and their targets together included domestic and other disturbances; crimes in progress such as robbery, assault and carjacking; the execution of arrest warrants; drug raids; gang activities; routine traffic stops; car chases; and standoff and hostage events.

     Women make up about 15 percent of the nation's uniformed police services. During 2011, about 25 female police officers wounded or killed civilians. None of these officers had shot anyone in the past. While the vast majority of police officers never fire their guns in the line of duty, 15 officers who did shoot someone in 2011, had shot at least one person before. (This figure is probably low because police departments don't like to report such statistics.) Most police shootings involved members of police departments followed by sheriff's deputies, the state police, and federal officers. These shootings took place in big cities, suburban areas, towns, and in rural areas. Big city shootings comprised about half of these violent confrontations in 2011.

Police Shooting Investigations

     Almost all police involved shootings, while investigated by special units, prosecutor's offices, or an outside police agency, were investigated by governmental law enforcement personnel. It is perhaps not surprising that more than 95 percent of all police involved shootings were ruled administratively and legally justiified. A handful of cases led to wrongful death lawsuits. Even fewer will result in the criminal prosecution of officers. Critics of the system have called for the establishment of completely independent investigative agencies in cases of police involved shootings.

Where People Were Shot

     Most Deadly States

     California 183 total (102 fatal)
     Florida 96 (49)
     Illinois 64 (26)
     Texas 58 (26)
     New York 49 (23)
     Pennsylvania 49 (23)
     Ohio 45 (28)
     Arizona 45 (27)
     Maryland 41 (16)
     Washington 39 (29)

     Least Deadly States

     Delaware 0
     Vermont 0
     North Dakota 1
     Wyoming 2 (1)
     Alaska 2 (2)
     Montana 3 (2)
     South Dakota 3 (3)
     Hawai 4 (3)
     Conneticut 6 (1)
     West Virginia 6 (5)
     New Hampshire 6 (5)
     Idaho 7 (2)
     Kansas 7 (5)

     Most Deadly Cities

     Chicago 46 total (10 fatal)
     Los Angeles 22 (14)
     Philadelphia 17 (7)
     Las Vegas 17 (15)
     New York City 16 (6)
     Phoenix 15 (10)
     Baltimore 15 (5)
     Columbus, OH 14 (8)
     Atlanta 12 (4)
     St. Louis 11 (3)
     Cleveland 10 (7)
     Miami 10 (6)
     Houston 10 (3)

     Least Deadly Cities

     Boston 1
     New Orleans 1 (1)
     Portland, ME 1
     Buffalo 2
     Detroit 2 (1)
     Seattle 2 (1)
     Denver 2 (2)
     Pittsburgh 3 (1)

     Cities with High Per Capita Shooting Rates

     Fresno, CA 9 total (4 fatal)
     Tucson, AZ 8 (6)
     Aurora, CO 7 (6)
     Oakland, CA 7 (6)
     San Jose, CA 7 (3)
     Albuquerque, NM 6 (5)
     Mesa, AZ 6 (2)
     Jacksonville, FL 5 (4)
     Syracuse, NY 5 (3)
     Orlando, FL 5 (2)
     N. Miami Beach, FL 5 (2)
     Little Rock, Ark. 5 (1)
     Yakima, WA 4 (1)
     Bakersfield, CA 4 (3)
     Long Beach, CA 4 (2)
     Garden Grove, CA 4 (3)
     Redding, CA 4 (2)

New York City

     In 1971, police officers in New York City shot 314 people, killing 93. (In California, the state with the most police involved shootings in 2011, the police shot 183, killing 102.) In 2010, New York City police shot 24, killing 8. Last year, in the nation's largest city, the police shot 16, killing 6. In Columbus, Ohio, a city one eighth the size of New York, the police shot 14, killing 8. Statistical diversities like this suggest that in the cities with the highest per capita shooting rates, better people ought to be hired, or the existing forces need a lot more training in the use of deadly force.


    

106 comments:

  1. looks like very hardwork, may I cite you? I would like to have comparative national statistics for other years, do you have them to share? thank you, Martha Huggins

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    1. In 1994 the Justice department was charged by Congress with tracking police shootings and statistics. Given the ""Top Cop"" attitude and minstrel show in Washington, it has NEVER been accomplished under any administration. In all probability never will even though it is in all probability being paid for. More contempt for the taxpayer and maleficence by elected officials

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  2. So when a doctor is investigated for malpractice, we should use people with no medical training to investigate them? That is dumb. Just as dumb as having someone with no law enforcement experience investigate a police involved shooting.

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    1. The point is that it is a glaring conflict of interest to have investigations and prosecutions by internal affairs, prosecutors and judges because they are all paid by and represent the same entity; the state.

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    2. There is no correlation between doctors(highly educated for complex tasks) and police actions( very low level thought processes)so your comment on this subject also exhibits low level thought processes mr June 9 2012 at 12:08am.

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    3. If you don't think that an internal affairs investigator won't throw an officer found in a bad shooting ton the wolves, then you truly have no understanding of the regulations governing law enforcement officers. In stead of making assumptions and accusations, you should learn the deadly force laws yourself. Then you would be able to see the truth, be it a hard truth, and not just see the dumb and ignorant shoot first ask later that you as well as the media currently see. You meet force with greater force. Not force with what do I think the easiest option would be. That line of thinking and the people getting shot will be the officers, not the scum bag that made the choice to threaten the lives and safety of everyone involved.

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    4. you are comparing a medical yearlong training with a , not even a high school diploma required cop job?

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    5. actually I believe all the cops I've known over the past 20 years or so were required to have some sort of a college degree as a prereqisite to being hired...

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    6. Some one here has already decided that certain people are "sum bags."

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    7. My guess is your a cop. Cops troll these types of sites to comment in favor of the cop.I believe the article was about cops who kill people with complete immunity.If you want to compare cops who are trigger happy to Doctors and malpractice ,so be it.Atleast they do get reprimanded which doesn't happen to cops because they have their own law within the law and they already investigate themselves .That is why Mr Fisher was able to write this article. Problem is ,now this seems to be happening more and more,.Ppl are opening their eyes and the cops who have had a license to kill are now being called out for it.

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    8. The point is - it's a conflict of interest - IA can claim to be as impartial as they want, but its still a conflict of interest.

      "Scum Bags" like all the children and old men who have been shot because they had plastic toys that looked like guns.

      43 criminals that were convicted by judge & jury were sentenced to death and executed in 2011.

      607 suspects were shot and killed without a judge or jury or even due diligence in that same time frame. Including people who's crimes NEVER would have warranted the death penalty from a judge/jury.

      This is not okay....

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    9. Your are an uneducated, uninformed, person who expresses opinion, rather than fact. You really should do your homework before posting your comments. Your nonsense and ramble give you away. Do you believe that every shooting incident was unjustified or in self defense or are you seriously suggesting that the police just randomly shot/killed 603 people for kicks? I hate people like you who find any reason to point the finger and make accusations. I would bet a years pay that you have never done anything but anybody but yourself and had never served this country or your community in any manner other than to try and tear it down. I'm betting you tried to be a police officer and they wouldn't accept you and now your just bitter and ignorant.

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    10. RE: Mr/Ms. 05MAR2014

      May I cite you as an example? I recently finished a paper identifying defense mechanisms; specifically in LEOs (as I have been, and occasionally still work with). My observations were that there are several obvious defense mechanisms which are characteristic of LEOs. Now, several days after completion, I have some perfect examples in one's own font of regression, denial and projection. And each with a vivid, almost violent scent to them.

      This is the sort of overreaction which is a potential contributor to increased police shootings. I certainly don't think that officers shoot people "for kicks", but impulse control is not high on the list of desired traits for most police officers... a standard requirement for an officer is that he/she be capable of "acting". It is difficult to find persons who can act in an appropriate manner under pressure and be capable of effectively articulating their choices and managing a situation with finesse... that said, they look for people capable of acting... period. The majority of the good cops end up as administrators or instructors, some stay on a beat or move into a specialization, but many don't move beyond their beats, and if they don't excel, they are moved to nights where there is a greater chance that complaints against them will be dismissed as the percentage of civilian idiots to non-idiots is at a higher ratio during that time of day.

      Back to my point, I do appreciate the example... unfortunately, your response completes the stereotype that you are attempting to discredit (often a product of regression). Focus on your service of others. Billy-bad-ass is great to watch in made for TV movies, but if you are looking for effective tactics a piece of advise which I was given many years ago, and give out as often as I think of it: "walk softly and carry a big stick". Talking down a mentally disturbed individual or even dealing with public servants hopped up on their own views of themselves, I always speak with courtesy listen; to start. That doesn't mean that I haven't planned out the next 3 steps if someone wants to get stupid, or that my finger isn't indexed along my Smith as my hand naturally falls under the front of my jacket in a manner which appears as though my hands are crossed in a non-threatening manner.

      Simply because I am ready for whatever someone wants to throw this direction, doesn't mean that I escalate the situation and draw them in. My goal is the end game; but if the desired outcome for so many with an overbearing ego, is the stimulation of that ego and a feeling of sexual gratification which quickly dissipates once they have drawn everyone's attention to themselves as they made an ass of themselves... if that's the desired end result, we have alot of results oriented officers out there. A bit like frat boys who never grew up... driven by basic social needs, and a belief that in order to prove themselves they must constantly be overbearing and obsessive about their own importance.

      Just thought I'd share, as this string of comments seems to have a few good (albeit extreme) examples of the type of psyche which runs rampant in (primarily city and county agencies) law enforcement; it's unfortunate, however a stereotype becomes one, because it frequently occurs. One day, perhaps LEO's will begin to understand that it is the comments such as yours which turn people off... that IS the reason which supports the theory that many cops possess this unstable mentality which is often at the root of stupid shootings... Just speaking from my first hand experiences

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    11. Hey man, would you please put up a link to your findings. I'd like to read an in-depth version of what you just wrote

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    12. Wow, what a terrific summary! I wish I was half as articulate.

      Not to hijack but, I wrote an email to our Sheriff concerning a tactic that I observed his deputies using that I thought counter-productive to their stated goal and un-becoming of their station as public servants. The result? Several half baked accusations about my motive for sending such an email in reply and about a month of attention from deputies "patrolling" our private road and pulling me over every time I left the neighborhood. IOW, harassment from a Sheriff that couldn't take constructive criticism.

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    13. The US is a neofascist country with more private police and snoops than Nazi Germany could muster. I was nearly struck head-on by a recklessly speeding police car a few weeks ago. When I tried to find out who was blameworthy, the local sheriff's office told me about a couple of cars that were speeding to some alleged offense but the "investigator" said both cars had supposedly turned off onto another road farther away than where my close call occurred. Obviously, one or more of the cops driving lied; I suspect they were taking different routes to the same problem area and were racing to see who could reach it first. One of them was the fool who almost hit me head on at 70 miles an hour or more.

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    14. YES! Police and government should be investigated by citizens. You work for us not the city. Even though the Police are a revenue generating division of the executive branch.

      I believe we need to take it a step further, if a police officer is involved in a shooting they should be arrested just like any other citizen, post bail and tired in court. Not an internal investigation with protection from a union rep. Unions should be eliminated from criminal court and the police.

      Don't like it, stop being abusing your authority.

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    15. ^ THIS!

      Need an up-vote button for Mr/Mrs June 14, 2014 at 8:46 PM above :)

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    16. ^^ This, x2!

      Police Involved Shootings that result in injury or damage of any type should be tried in an open court, in the exact same manner that they would or wouldn't be for any average citizen who performed the same actions. Any "Internal Investigation" that I read about in one of these cases just makes me roll my eyes, because that's code for "...we're keeping the officer behind a desk until everybody forgets about it and then we can quietly drop any charges of wrongdoing against him or her". (Usually a frat-boy 'him' with ego problems, obviously.)

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  3. I would like to have comparative national statistics for other years, do you have them to share? thank you, Oscar Grant Uncle Bobby Johnson

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  4. I only have the data I compiled for 2011. Since the federal government doesn't maintain a data base on police involved shootings nationwide, that information doesn't exist.

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  5. I thought I saw somewhere on the FBI Institute of justice site how many fatal shootings occurred around the US involving police departments. It was 300 or so. Also it would be interesting to see how many contacts are made on a daily basis among agencies in the US and the ratio of police contacts to police shootings. I would guess it is less that 1 % of the time.

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    1. Good point on contacts made. I would like to see that statistic for each city. Of course it would be most helpful for each individual cop that is listed as shooting a suspect.

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  6. "Women make up about 5 percent of the nation's uniformed police services."

    Wrong. It's approx. 12% to 14%

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    1. The article stated " about 15% women "... Illiterates should not comment on subjects above their pay grade...It makes for a disturbing read...You must be a female officer...!

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    2. If you read the post thoroughly he states that women make up approximately 15% if the force.
      Jeeeesh. People. Maybe read and then think before you go off half cocked with defensive reactions. Consider a thoughtful reply. Do your research, and by all means, check your grammar. This guy is doing a great service by checking lots of facts and aggregating information that otherwise wouldn't be.

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  7. I have been looking for statistical info on police involved shootings,and I must confess,almost impossible to find, but this article was very informative. Thank You for your diligence.

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  8. "in the cities with the highest per capita shooting rates, better people ought to be hired, or the existing forces need a lot more training in the use of deadly force."
    Blame it all on the police, right The police shot 24 people in NYC in 2010, only eight of them fatally. In 2011, the police shot 16 people, ONLY 16, 6 of them fatally. There were 445 gun murders in NYC in 2011. Now, who is killing who in NYC? Which cities in the US have the highest crime rates? Which cities are most likely to have people shooting at the police? The ones with largely minority populations! And NYC has a mix of minorities that is well above 50% of the population!

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    1. Yes, the police should be blamed. What from I can find our police shot more citizens than any other country besides China. Something is seriously wrong when our law enforcement kills that many people and no other country does the same.

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    2. We have a higher homicide rate than any other developed country. I would put the blame more on a violent population than to jump to the conclusion that the police are murders. The million state, local, and Federal officers and agents only killed 607 people out of a total population of 313 million, and almost all of the "victims" were armed.

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    3. Every citizen is at a much higher risk of being shot by the police than by other citizens!

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    4. Yes, blame police: they are supposedly TRAINED, trained not to panic in difficult situations. How about the Georgia cop who shot and killed a boy for answering his own door with his Wii remote in his hand? Blame that one on a "violent" population?

      I can panic with a firearm as well as anyone. Hire me! I'll work lots cheaper, too, since you won't have to pay for my "training".

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    5. 607 people is obviously too high of a number, and I wish we had an easy answer for how to bring that down. I doubt that "training" is a real answer, because that's been the standard response for any such atrocity for the past 30 years.

      That being said... people tend to forget that the U.S. is the THIRD largest country in the world, by population, led only by India and China. 318.46 million people, as of today. Divided into total population, that's 0.0000019 percent of all people in the U.S. If there are 1 million officers on duty every day, and each officer interacts with 10 people per day, that would be 0.03 percent of all police interactions with citizens of the U.S. On top of which, in the brief mention of New York City, "In 1971, police officers in New York City shot 314 people, killing 93"... that compared to 2011 numbers (16 and 6) means that -something- positive definitely happened between 1971 and 2011. That number alone represents a massive improvement of something that could be much worse than it is.

      Yes, I'm just playing 'devil's advocate' here - but it helps to keep in mind that over a million officers are involved in tens of millions of interactions every day, and out of those very large numbers - less than 2 citizens per day become an (almost unrecorded) statistic in Police Involved Shootings. Which means that the vast majority of these officers are doing their jobs properly, and that you will likely not be shot by one the next time they talk to you (for whatever reason), and it's extremely unlikely that they'll break down your door and shoot your dog tonight.

      However... as I said above, these investigations need to be held in an open court and not kept as an "internal matter". There is a glaringly obvious conflict of interest in asking the police to police the police after a shooting of this type, so it's no wonder that there's such a massive outrage today over these events.

      Beyond that I would only add the next most obvious point, which I don't think I've seen anyone mention here yet... SWAT teams do -not- need to be serving arrest warrants on U.S. citizens (which has gone from ~5000 in 1983 to ~90,000 in 2013), and the so-called "no-knock raid" on a private home should NEVER have been declared legal by the U.S. Supreme Court. That one decision alone has been responsible for thousands of deaths of innocent people over the past decade or so. SWAT teams have a definite purpose - they are a police response to a violent threat. Serving an arrest warrant at 3 am, regardless of the house, is NOT an appropriate SWAT response to a violent threat. Whoever came up with THAT idea desperately needs to be in a prison cell for the next 50 years, because THAT person has caused those deaths of those thousands of innocent people.

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  9. you forgot about flint michigan

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  10. my uncle was killed before being processed, after arrest, and not by a gun, yet in police custody....
    im sure the numbers are TOO HIGH.

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    1. interesting article... I am interested to know how many officers are employees throughout the US so we could compare that number to the number of people shot by police which you stated was 1146.

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  11. I would like to know how many police have shot dogs. Is that recorded anywhere?

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  12. Good question. The police do not keep track of how many dogs they kill every year. Nationwide, the figure would certainly be in the hundreds, maybe thousands. A few years ago, SWAT team officers in Maryland, while raiding the wrong house, killed two of the occupant's dogs. The house they wrongly raided belonged to the mayor of the town.

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  13. Excellent work compiling this data. The fact there is no record keeping of this just seems shady on the part of law enforcement. If they keep a record of officers gunned down, why not citizens as well? Unjustified shooting happens a lot more that the general public is aware of. Sadly, the general public does not appear to be interested in many of the pressing issues regarding the emergence of a police state and the blatant disregard for the constitution.

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  14. Has the increase in the number female officers resulted in a higher rate of officer involved shootings?

    Do female officers have a higher rate of officer involved shootings than males?

    Do male officers with a female partner have a higher rate of officer involved shootings than if having a male partner?

    Do female officers with a female partner have a
    higher rate of officer involved shootings than if having a male partner?

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    1. I do not believe we have enough data to conclude that females in law enforcement has resulted in the use of more deadly force. I think male and female officers are using more force because they have become militarized. But these are important questions that should be answered.

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    2. Interesting supposition. I agree, but not completely "militarized". The officers I worked with who were prior military (which were many) have a degree of self discipline not find in most strictly civilian cops. Additionally, firing on someone is truly a last resort (not simply a department mantra which must be recited to the press). Our intent is to handle situations with as little violence as necessary. This does two things: First, it makes the encounter much less dangerous for all parties involved (I'm not suggesting that one lose their mindset... I'm simply saying that the outward appearance should be one which deescalates situations). Secondly, if the demeanor is pleasant and respectful (in most cases), once it becomes obvious that an apprehension must occur, or that violence will be necessary, moving forward with extreme violence and surprise, will give a significant advantage to the officer, rather than acting like an ass, escalating the situation and the walking right into your perp's fist because your attitude projected your actions from a mile away.

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    3. I think the poster used "militarized" not to mean past military but rather the way in which police work is conducted now vs. the past. Police once wore pressed uniforms. Today they go to work wearing body armor, boots, trousers bloused or full on BDU's. Even small departments have armored vehicles more suited to the battle field. This level of "arming up" prior to shift has to skew the psychology of officers in the direction of combat and they seem to spoil for it.

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  15. In 2011 in England and Wales, only 2 people were killed by the police. If the US had the same rate of killings by police officers as we do then in 2011 you would have had 11 people killed instead of 607.

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  16. Anonymous, you really should think about creating your own website and personal blog. You have a lot of ideas, insights, and opinions that the law enforcement community would find fascination, as I am sure the general public would. .

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  17. Why arent they using their tasers? Isnt that why they have them, so they dont have to use lethal force?

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  18. Regarding the comments about the civilians being more violent, it is a illogical comparison. How many of those civilians are mentally ill? the police are held to higher standards, they have more training and as poignantly noted, the police have forms of non-lethal engagement to neutralize a threat.

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    1. Civilians are not more violent, according to long term trends in homicide. On the other hand, police are, apparently. I looked at this issue seriously a dozen years or so ago, and fatal shootings by cops were about 175/year, and cops killed by shootings (in the line of duty) numbered about 70. Interestingly, for one year at least, 7 of the 70 were killed by fellow cops. (Self inflicted shootings by cops are much higher, but many of these are suicides not in the line of duty.)

      It is extremely difficult to determine what fraction of victims of cop shootings were unarmed, but back then it seemed to be in the range of 1/3, including guns, knives, and other deadly weapons. This is in sharp contrast to Fisher's statement that only a small percentage were unarmed. One reasonable interpretation is that cops use throw-down weapons in almost all shootings now, as opposed to 20 years ago.

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    2. Really??? Lets see your research to prove that one. All of you are expressing opinions or based on data from poorly researched articles like this one! Good God! Know wonder our country is in the state that it is in! We are seriously doomed. Perhaps the level of ignorance, poor decision making and stupidity in this country is one reason the police are forced to defend themselves more often.

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    3. I would surmise there is a high percentage of criminals and every day people who walk freely around who have some degree of mental illness. Yes officers are trained to deal with people with mental issues and in some cases the officer are successful resolving the issues without firing a shot. However officers must and will react in those instances when some threatens an officer or civilian with a weapon regardless if that person has a mental illness or not..

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  19. "The nation's leading law enforcement agency [FBI] collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life."

    Um, gee - maybe because when police use deadly force against a criminal IT'S NOT A CRIME?

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    1. They are not hired as judge, jury, and executioner. All those who have been shot are not suspects. It is a valid statistic that is intentionally being overlooked. It is true however that police rarely seemed to be found guilty no matter how negligent they may be in their duties.

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    2. They are not "a criminal" until convicted by a trial of their peers.

      The boy who was shot by the Georgia cop for the "crime" of answering his own door while holding a Wii remote? Not a criminal -- but the cop gets paid vacation, 'scuse me, "put on paid suspension".

      Kill a child, get free vacation time. Wow.

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    3. It is attitudes of "I am the law!" held by unbalanced police officers and sympathizers of police states that fear civilians having access to good data. For the same reason that campuses need to report violent crimes to a central clearing house that makes data public, all police organizations should be required to do the same. Both are important data to citizens and should be accessible. In this country, cops ultimately report to citizens, not the other way around, althought militarization is trying to change this. Cops who don't like this situation can play "I am the law!" in some police state abroad.

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  20. Thank you for compiling this data. The media reports these police shooting incidents as justified actions, i.e. protecting the public. And while I am sure the incidents are reviewed by a police chief, the media never publishes the final report. Another topic, I don't understand why they shoot people with knives....doesn't the person with the gun always win? There was an incident in a costco near me, where the police shot dead this mentally ill women holding a knife. 2 policeman responded, and when she wouldn't release the knife, he shot her, and also wounded the other officer. Aren't the police trained in how to disarm a person with a knife? I think I could have disarmed her all by myself, or talked her down. It just seems the police go for their gun too quickly. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/deputy-woman-shot-at-costco-in-loudoun-county/2013/05/29/e5c4656a-c897-11e2-9245-773c0123c027_story.html

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    1. I tell you what, I'll come at you with a knife. You try and date it from me. I guarantee that you will either be in a hospital getting a lot of stitches or in a body bag. A knife is a deadly weapon and should be treated as such. I'm retired military, and not a cop. Just putting that out there because its an automatic accusation of people who don't "toe the liberal line."

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    2. right u are im not military or a cop but i do know hand to hand, an at close range a knife can be more deadly then a gun

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  21. Police need no statistics to support their defensiveness: it's a part of their sociology. 2011 was a local peak for officer fatalities, but the trend line for officer deaths of all kinds has been steadily decreasing. Even in 2011, violence against police accounted for only half of the fatalities. Accidents and occupational illness were equally lethal. Most importantly, police kill civilians at more than 5 times the rate of the reverse. That's a small group of people doing a lot of killing, then writing themselves the official account of why it happened.

    http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/

    >>The government does maintain records on how many police officers are killed every year in the line of duty. In 2010, 59 officers were shot to death among 122 killed while on the job. This marked a 20 percent jump from 2009 when 49 officers were killed by gunfire. In 2011, 173 officers died, from all causes, in the line of duty. The fact police officers feel they are increasingly under attack from the public may help explain why they are shooting so many citizens.<<

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    1. THE LAST SENTENCE IN THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH READS:" THE FACT POLICE OFFICERS FEEL THEY ARE INCREASINGLY UNDER ATTACK FROM THE PUBLIC MAY HELP EXPLAIN WHY THEY ARE SHOOTING SO MANY CITIZENS" So who ever wrote this garbage, if an officer can't handle to be in the public much less be a public servant to protect & serve his community, should lay down his badge. Pressure from the job doesn't give any police officer the right to fire his weapon with the intent to kill.

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    2. Let them apply for mc donalds jobs

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  22. Clearly (and understandably) this is a heated topic, which is often the case regarding homicides. I am currently doing research of the topic of the phenomenom of Suicide by Cop. I am attempting to compile statistics and am looking for suggestions on this data collection. Colleagues and I are hoping to develop better training procedures for officers to identify a suicidal non threat individual and one who indeed poses a threat.

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  23. They sold us on the implementation of the "non-lethal" Taser as a better alternative to shooting- that was obviously BS all along. Now they use the Taser as an alternative to talking to people in a civilized manner.

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  24. Every cop has "probably" wondered what it would be like to actually shoot someone; could he or she actually do it if the need arose? In my opinion, some (a minority to be sure) have gone ahead and put themselves to THAT test. As I reflect back, even
    as far as the 60's, I can recall scores of reported and televised incidents where the police went way beyond what was required and sadly they often get away with it. How dare we question the
    integrity of "our nation's finest"! Bottom line: Far too often calling
    on the cops to interveen in some problem can often result in
    their poor judgement and the bullets start flying. There does need to be a closer watch on incidents of "death by cop" and it
    shouldn't be done by any law enforcement agency directly involved...it would resemble Obama's people investigating themselves...............NOT!.

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  25. What I can see is a civil war from law enforcement against the very people that feed them. Now: It's this a issue in other potencies countries? In the police academy there are a big % of students full of frustrations, reason Why the end trying became P.O. . . Like as a medication or psiqui treatment wear in P.O. uniform.

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  26. So,Socrates, Before you try to make and "intelligent" comment, maybe you need to work on your speech and writing skills. Just sayin.........

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  27. Thank you for researching the data and making this blog post. I wonder, how did you compile the information? Anecdotally (and it's clear from your post that there is no official source of this information, so how else could I speculate but anecdotally), my initial reaction is that your numbers of police killings seem low. Does it seem so to you?

    It seems to me that the relative likelihood that a police officer could be shot or killed should be taken into consideration when we judge whether deadly force was justified.

    I am encouraged by the fact that the number of police shootings in larger cities has declined significantly over the years (e.g., New York), and I can only conclude that better training is a major reason for this.

    I also wonder about the effectiveness (vis a vis' instances of death) of the seemingly-popular police "SWAT-style" raids when executing warrants.

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    1. I searched the Internet every day for a year and took note of each police-inolved shooting and the basic facts of the case. I may have missing some cases so if anything, my numbers might be low. In my view, having studied these cases and ones that have followed, a lot of police shootings, while legal and even administratively approved, are unnecessary. Thank's for you comment and question.

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    2. Here's another to add to your database---

      http://www.kltv.com/story/24951793/sheriffs-office-to-release-in-car-video-of-officer-involved-shooting-with-elderly-man

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  28. I do not have current numbers on this but estimate PSP officers shoot between 5 and10 people a year. I have no idea how many pets are killed every year by police officers but suspect the number is shockingly high.

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    1. I used to take mentally challenged citizens to several PSP stations,to do cleaning. I witnessed troopers loading their cars,preparing to go on patrol. Talk about firepower. 1 semi automatic handgun,1 shotgun and 1 automatic AR-15. With extra ammo. Why in the world do they need automatic weapons? So they can murder more innocent people and pets?

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    2. Yes, they are armed for combat. Modern law enforcement is much too militarized. You have to be careful when confronted by a police officer. It is very easy to be shot these days.

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    3. I would think that everyone here would expect a well trained well armed police officer to respond if they or family or friends were in a situation where they were needed.

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    4. Time to get a gun and protect yourself. Too many stories of cops showing up on a call and killing a family member that just needed help.

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    5. Regarding heavier weaponry in modern police forces...

      The "North Hollywood Shootout", as it's called, on Feb. 28, 1997 caught the L.A. police department by surprise. None of the officers involved had rifles with them, only pistols (and, I believe, a few shotguns). It was only about halfway through the confrontation that SWAT teams arrived with rifles that could answer force-for-force with the two shooters.

      Since that time (in my opinion), police departments all over the entire country have been referencing that one event and insisting to their local governments that they need to be carrying heavier weapons than they had been up to that point. Well, now most of them are. In addition, most of them are now involved in "training" that makes them believe they are proficient in the use of such weapons.

      Unfortunately (in my opinion), those officers who believe their "training" gives them the judgement to decide -when- to use such weapons is probably a key to why there seem to be more incidents of Police Involved Shootings every year. Which is why I'm so derisive of reading (or hearing) the word "training" tossed about so loosely as the solution to all of these problems. The "training" they always talk about is not the end-answer to these problems, it's only the first step of a complicated path that officers need to walk down to use proper judgement when faced with a dangerous situation.

      The majority of officers realize this and act accordingly. A few do not, and their egos kill innocent people. It might actually solve these problems if these officers were removed from their duty (or put in prison) once they've proven they have poor judgement, but these "internal investigations" (and intense arguments from police union reps) put them back on duty and these problems continue to get worse. In addition, other officers would certainly notice that showing poor judgement gets them removed from the force, which would further reduce the problems we're talking about here.

      I get the feeling that a solution to the overall problem is in these details somehow... if only we could put it all together in a logical and applicable manner.

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  29. If I feel disrespected or threatened by the police and I have not committed a crime and I use deadly force like they do I would not get justified status under any circumstances and that is B. S. !

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  30. It is better that 1000 cops die than one innocent civilian. Cops enter the "ring" voluntarily and should understand the risks. Innocent Americans being killed by trigger-happy cops are just going about their business. Cops should be trained to hold-off using the gun even at the risk of their own demise. That is not the case. Cops are trained that it is them against us and that the cop's lives are more important than those of innocent folks and that is wrong.

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    1. That sounds crazy. Cops are people too. Right now, they are not well screened for the job that involves carrying lethal force. We don't need adrenaline junkies who take their cues from Hollywood "tough cop" models.

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  31. Without everyone, in particular public servants, being made aware of what the law is and where it comes from, then some of those in public service will not have it in mind that people have the means to defend themselves (which of course could be seen as perfectly justifiable, as being lawful and ethically correct) in bringing disreputable behavior to account.

    It of course, will require huge numbers of people knowing what it is that will literally bring the fear of God into the lives of those who maybe tempted to commit wrong-doings. The decision is the individuals to make the effort to make what it is that needs to be known.

    Here then, is how to arm yourselves against unwarranted attacks, and put the fear of God in letting those know that you know, what it is as a people that is lawful without there being any excuses for what is not -

    PUBLIC SERVICE, COMMON SENSE AND THE LAW – PART I
    http://thereisnodebt.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/public-service-common-sense-and-the-law-part-i/

    DIAL 911 AND DIE
    http://thereisnodebt.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/dial-911-and-die/

    RULE THYSELF LEST YE BE RULED
    http://thereisnodebt.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/rule-thyself-lest-ye-be-ruled/

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  32. Sorry, my research files are not computer-ready.

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  33. Jim, I am working on a story on fatal police shootings in Minnesota. I would like to cite your research. Could you provide figures for fatal shootings in all states, not just the top/bottom 10?

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  34. Alabama 16 total (5 fatal), Alaska 2 (2), Arizona 45 (27), Arkansas 10 (6), California 183 (102), Colorado 23 (11), Connecticut 6 (1), D.C. 11 (6), Delaware 0, Florida 96 (49), Georgia 34 (20), Hawaii 4 (3), Idaho 7 (2), Illinois 64 (26), Indiana 24 (11), Iowa 9 (1), Kansas 7 (5), Kentucky 14 (10), Louisiana 13 (10), Maine 8 (6), Maryland 41 (16), Massachusetts 17 (5), Michigan 16 (9), Minnesota 13 (7), Mississippi 9 (4), Missouri 23 (10), Montana 3 (2), Nebraska 7 (2), Nevada 22 (15), New Hampshire 6 (5), New Jersey 23 (13), New Mexico 16 (11), New York 49 (23), North Carolina 21 (11), North Dakota 1, Ohio 45 (28), Oklahoma 15 (10), Oregon 11 (6), Pennsylvania 49 (18), South Carolina 15 (9), South Dakota 3 (3), Tennessee 13 (8), Texas 58 (26), Utah 12 (8), Vermont 0, Virginia 26 (12), Washington 39 (29), West Virginia 6 (5), Wisconsin 15 (8), Wyoming 2 (1)

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  35. Any society including America that submits to having a militarized police force is incapable of resisting a false arrest, they must “comply or die”. America is now among the nations of “guilty until proved innocent.”

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  36. "If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem." "Be the change you want to see in the world." If you don't like the way the public servants serve, become one.

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  37. Since you didn't specifically mention. I'm curious how or where you obtain your information? Is it public? I would love to graph the data going backwards.

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  38. All of my information was news reportage taken off the Internet every day during the year 2011.

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  39. Did you happen to take note of racial statistics? In particular, the race of those who were killed by police? The race of the police who did the shooting may also be an interesting statistic (whether there is equal representation, as it were...). Thanks.

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  40. I did not break out the racial component. Had one racial group been obviously over represented, I believe I would have noticed. It is true, however, that police officers in big cities shot a high number of black people. Generally, police shootings occur in high crime areas of big cities. But this is not true in places like New York, Detroit,Pittsburgh, and Boston. In Aurora, Colorado, a large suburban city, the vast major of police shootings involved white people. Perhaps I am naive, but I would be surprised if racism plays a major role in police-involved shootings. It think it's more a problem of police militarism.

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  41. Interesting stats. Thanks for putting them together and sharing.

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  42. Thank you for doing this work! It has helped me as I compile my own statistical data comparing police shootings with school shootings....

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  43. Cops nation wide are willing to blow your head off, if you don't stop at a stop sign and don't pull over for them. How is that a normal thought process? " Well they didn't stop and I felt threatened, because they were in a car that could be used as a weapon and they were going away from me, so I had to shoot!"

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  44. Just a thought, but this states only about death caused by officers using gunfire. How about the increasing number of cases that we see with the use of other weapons such as tasers, batons, or just brute and unnecessary force, etc. The number 607 reflects both the officers going out of there way to kill, and those who were justified but how about other deaths, like Kelly Thomas who was continuously tased and then beaten to death? Honestly though, its not only about the officers who actually kill, but that beat children for filming them, torture people for minor infractions such as littering, or use their power to sexually assault women. ALL police encounters should be filmed and ALL police should be held accountable. Policing the police is necessary. The officers that don't agree are worse than the criminals they are dealing with. http://www.policebrutality.info/

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  45. Please correct my typos. Thx!

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  46. Are there actual stats to how many people were killed period. These post seem to focus on how many people were shot but i have found a multitude of videos that show uniformed officers killing people in other ways such as blunt force trauma, electrocution via taser, suffocation during restraints and the list can go on. Where would young reporters such as myself start and should the average person be concerned that they can be a potential victim of such violence.

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    1. Few and far between. We need people like you to bring to light those occurrences, but unless you are evading/resisting arrest, you stand a great chance of having a normal police encounter like the rest of us.

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  47. According to Robert Hare, U.B.C. psychologist, police are highly likely to be determined a psychopath after taking the psychopathy checklist, and the percetage is 33%. Note this article that shows that policing is 7th in the list of the top 10 jobs that attract psychopaths :

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/01/05/the-top-10-jobs-that-attract-psychopaths/

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  48. I am a retired police officer from Dade County Florida. After retiring, i moved to a different county in Florida and noticed that there is an unusually high percentage of police involved shootings here, I began the search for statistics but found, as the article states, there aren't any. I truly believe that a great number of these shootings are unjustified and would never stand up as a reasonable use of force under most circumstances. As long as these incidents continue to be investigated by their own people there will never be transparency or accountability. As a private citizen now i can tell you that i fear the police and so should you.

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  49. Jim,
    Nice analysis. Your last statement that perhaps NYC should hire better people for officers should be countered by maybe NYC should find better residents. ha well I'm not LEO and am fully aware of many documented NYC police involved shootings that rightfully question police use of force and even competence in its application, but I would also remind you that not many "better people" are willing to be underpaid and deal with the types of situations cops have to walk into on a daily basis.

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  50. In a "free" and data driven society such as the US today, one would expect this sort of statistic to be readily available. I think that the stats do exist but they are deliberately withheld from the Public. Law Enforcement not only lies and extorts, it kills. They have a lot of dirt to hide.
    In today's world, camera phones and YouTube are beginning to expose this. If we are a free society we have a right to this knowledge. This is happening in every jurisdiction in the country. I have seen it first hand, as have most others. But no one questions anything. It is disturbing.

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  51. There are in excess of 500,000 non-military police in the USA, perhaps more. In any given year, they collectively shoot to death 400 or 500 people who, according to the author, are largely armed and engaging in criminal behavior. As sad as that sounds, I shed no tears for dangerous criminals getting shot in their line of work. I'd be far more interested in hearing about those who were killed that were not posing an immediate threat, not engaging in a crime, and otherwise truly innocent. The sheer volume of police contacts of one form or another means mistakes will happen and those should be treated harshly if reasonably preventable but making mountains out of molehills is not going to convince the general public for the need of change.

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  52. In most cases the internal affairs division is ran by regular cops who rotate in and back out periodically. So IA is a conflict of interest.

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  53. Look at Wikipedia's "List of police killings in the US" and you will see a range of circumstances in which citizens are killed,some of which killings are brutal and senseless. Nearly every day someone is shot to death by a cop. Nearly every day some innocent bystander is killed by a police car pursuing someone else. Tough, nationwide federal standards need to be enacted to protect ordinary people from cowboy cops. Many victims are mentally disordered persons or persons who are too slow to drop a presumed weapon or persons who are just fed up with being bullied by cops. For example, last year a woman called police about her 43-yr-old son's acting suicidal. When the police arrived, the son allegedly waved a pair of scissors at them. The police shot and killed the son. Lucky mother, huh? I think that incident occurred in Houston. In Austin in 2013, a man called the police after noticing a strange pit bull in his yard. He was holding a shotgun when police arrived, presumably in case the pit bull attacked him. After failing to drop the shotgun when ordered (maybe it would have gone off if dropped, maybe he didn't wan to damage the gun), the police shot and killed the man -- he turned out to be a rifle instructor in Austin.

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    1. Now this is funny statement. Someone is citing "Wikipedia" as a viable container of truth. Even if the data is accurate the source is questionable at best. My recommendation for many of you including the grammar busting educational elitist is to check your facts and leave your emotions at home. Check into what CISM is all about and understand people needs. The problems are not necessarily psychological they may be stress induced or stress related. Not everything requires a doctor. As far officer involved deaths go in America one needs to understand the average person has a natural aversion to killing another human being. Mental toughness is a highly desirable trait required in military, law enforcement and other highly stress related jobs where loss of life may occur. Please understand that there are opportunities that exist to help law enforcement officers to understand these complexities and resolve the emotional issues that many of you are discussing or dancing around. Two of the most beneficial tools in dealing with this and other careers are the following: Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and the use of a Certified individual in the area of Survival Mindset. The use of these two tools will decompress nearly individual or group dealing with the topic discussed here. Good luck in your discuss for I fear many of you are just talkers and not doers.

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    2. The Wikipedia site I mentioned summarizes newspaper articles. If so many police are taking the "CISM" and other courses/training, why are they still killing people they could just as easily wound, especially at short range? By the way, it's "data are", not "data is." I have no idea what "grammar busting" means; maybe you're an illiterate.

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  54. I'm currently writing an article about the aforementioned Austinite, John Schaefer, who was gunned down after reporting a pit bull incident. The grand jury decided not to indict Jonathan Whitten, the Austin police officer who shot Schaefer. A notable statement from the affidavit was that Schaefer refused to put up his gun when asked to and when Whitten reached for it, Schaefer drew the gun and pointed it at Whitten causing Whitten to shoot Schaefer twice in the chest. I was wondering if you had a usable email you'd be willing to share with me, so I can discuss more in depth with you about this subject? I tried emailing the edinboro.edu one, and it bounced back. My email is hlchen02@gmail.com, so if possible, I'd love to get in contact with you.

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    1. Lucy, were there any witnesses to this tragedy? If not, why should we believe Whitten's account? Cops around San Francisco have been exonerated for killing black males. Oscar Grant was filmed in a subdued position by several people before a cop shot him to death at a subway station. The cop claimed he thought he was holding his taser instead of a pistol. He lied and it was a feeble excuse to say he was going to taser Grant when Grant was already subdued in a sitting position with his hands behind his back.

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  55. Jim, I'm wondering if you still have the original news articles, or perhaps summaries of the news articles?

    Specifically I'd like to get my hands on the specific instances of Chicago PD fatal shootings. If you do have them, would you be able to email me the content at adw.chambers [at] gmail [dot] com

    Thanks so much.

    -Drew

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