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Monday, October 3, 2011

Police Involved Shootings for September 2011

     So far this year the nation's police have shot 872 people, killing 483. In September they shot 103 killing 53. Seventeen of this month's shootings took place in California with 9 being fatal. There were 7 in texas (5 fatal), 5 in Massaschusetts (1), 5 in Florida (2), 4 in Pennsylvania (2), 5 in Ohio (4), 4 in Washington (3) and 4 in Nevada. Wyoming (Chleyenne) saw its first police involved shooting of the year.

     By city, there were three fatal shootings in Los Angeles, three in Chicago (1 fatal), two fatal shootings in Cleveland, two in Amarillo, two shootings in Philadelphia (1) and two nonfatal shootings in San Francisco. In September the vast majority of police involved shootings took place in the smaller cities and in suburban settings. There were also several shootings in small towns and rural areas.

     SWAT team officers shot two people in September. Two police officers were wounded, and no female subjects were shot. The oldest person shot by the police was 90, the youngest, 21. (See: "Armed and Dangerous: Who the Police Shoot and Why," September 22, 2011.)


Toledo, Ohio
     Police in Toledo, on September 3 fired 40-50 bullets at 48-year-old Brian Everett Lipp who posessed what turned out to be a pellet gun. (There have been a couple dozen pellet or replica gun cases this year.) Before dying in the hail of lead, Lipp lit up a crack cocaine pipe.

Oakland, California

     At 5 PM on September 25, when Oakland officers pulled over a car for an unspecified traffic violation, a passenger jumped out of the car and ran. An officer gave chase which resulted in a struggle which in turn led to the fatal shooting of this man who threatened the officer with a loaded gun.

     This case is special because the officer videoed the shooting with a pager-sized camera affixed to his uniform. More than a thousand police agencies across the country are using chest cameras to record police activity such as traffic stops, sobriety tests, apprehensions and street questionings. In these departments, officers are prohibited from viewing the footage in the field. After the shooting in Oakland, the officer involved and his partner were not allowed to see the footage before speaking to internal affairs detectives looking into the shooting. In Oakland, officers were allowed to review footage of recorded traffic stops and arrests after they had filed their initial reports of these incidents. This policy, however, does not specifically deal with filmed police involved shootings.

     This Oakland police shooting case has created a rift between local police watchdog groups and the police union. The officers want the right to view the footage before speaking to investigators while police accountability organizations exect a departmental policy that prohibits officers from seening the tape before anyone else. This case reflects the ongoing tension between the police and the people they are paid to protect and to serve. Police officers are public servants and the cameras they wear are for our protection, not theirs.  

1 comment:

  1. By the way, the oldest person shot by police is 107.