Take a look at this screen capture of the recent news on police shootings in America:
It was taken yesterday. The ten stories on this list range from December 21st to December 28th, 2014 and provide a snapshot of the average week in the American police state.
2. Jacksonville, Florida (deceased)
3. Texas City, Texas (deceased)
4. (Protest story from prior police shooting)
5. Washington, D.C. (two shootings; one deceased)
6. Berkeley, MO (deceased)
7. Rotterdam, NY
8. Bedford, OH (deceased)
9. Los Angeles, CA
10. Las Vegas, NV
Half of the ten people shot by police in the last week died from their wounds. Others ranged from serious condition to stable, while one story had not been updated since the man was in surgery. One story not on the list was that of Craig Schiffer, a pedestrian who was randomly struck and killed by officers responding to a non-related 9-1-1 call in Islip, New York.
One man was shot and wounded for reportedly “holding something shiny” and not heeding police commands. One man was shot by police 21 times in a dark corridor where police thought he might have a gun in his hand. One person was shot for fitting the description of a burglar and running away from police. In another case, an armed teen was shot by a cop who, curiously, did not have his body or dash cams on for unknown reasons (and five miles from Ferguson, Missouri, too). Another was accused of committing “suicide by cop,” and yet another man was shot because he threw trash at an officer during a routine traffic stop and sped off. After chasing him across three counties, police shot and killed him under what they claim was suspicion he was armed. And they were right, he was armed … with a sword. The guy who was shot in Vegas was the 16th person shot by police in Vegas in 2014 alone.
Again, this is just what is being reported, but at least six people were killed by police this week across the country.
Were all of these shootings truly justified?
While the mainstream media attempts to portray it differently, not nearly as many police officers are shot and/or killed in the line of duty as people might think.
For example, if you look at data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, only 31 officers were shot in the line of duty in 2013. The fund’s data spans 2004 to 2013, and approximately 55 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty each year in America during that time.
That data, however, does not tell the whole story.
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First of all, depending on where you look at and what factors you consider (part- or full-time, etc.), there are somewhere between 780,000 and 900,000 or more police in this country in over 18,000 police departments (more by far than any other nation on the planet). Secondly, not all of those fatal wounds were homicide-induced. Some were accidents. According to the FBI, only 27 officers were fatally wounded last year, while another 49 officers’ deaths were accidental in nature. Overall, officer deaths in 2013 were the lowest reported in 54 years in this country.
In fact, “police officer” didn’t even make the top ten list of the deadliest jobs in America.
And yet, in the age of “big data,” apparently none is consistently being kept anywhere on how many citizens are shot by police in this country each year.
According to the Facebook page “Killed by Police” which aims to do just that, at least 1,848 people have been killed by cops since May 1, 2013 when the page was formed (key words “at least”).
Of those, 1,089 were killed just this year alone. Although the year doesn’t end for another two days (and one of those is a holiday known for its alcohol-fueled celebrations), if we go with that figure, that means nearly 21 people are killed by police on average every week in America.
That means cops kill an average of three people every day here.
Again, are all of these deaths truly justifiable? (Oh, and if they aren’t keeping data on the number of people killed by cops, then suffice it to say we truly have no idea at all how many family pets are killed by cops on a regular basis…)
It certainly seems excessive in a country where crime rates have dropped drastically in the last two decades and continue to do so.
Yet, after the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and more, citizens are looking for answers. Protests against police brutality continue in cities across America as our ever-more-militarized law enforcement agencies go on the defensive.
Related Activist Post Article:
5 Reasons Police Body Cameras Are a Terrible Idea