Seventy-Two Cops Were Shot and Killed in the Entire U.S. in 2011; LA County Cops Alone Shot and Killed 54 Suspects the Same Year

|

Police officers in Los Angeles County shot and killed 54 people in 2011, an increase of 70 percent over 2010. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 12 of the 54—or 22 percent—were completely unarmed. "With 612 people killed in the county last year," reports the LAT*, "nearly 1 in every 10 such deaths occurred at the hands of law enforcement officers."

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the paper, "By and large these are not shootings of misperception or overreaction." Here's what happened during one situation in which officers did not overreact:

In October, Downey police responded to an intersection where an armed man had been seen by a 911 caller. The officers spotted Michael Nida, 31, in the area and believed he matched the description the caller had given.

When the officers confronted Nida, he fled. They gave chase, and one of them shot Nida twice in the back with a rifle from about 20 feet away when he "made a gesture that was perceived as a threat," according to the autopsy report.

Nida was unarmed.

A number cruncher with the LA County Office of Independent Review told the Times, "Until you really pull each of them apart, you don't know whether it was just a blip or if it is the start of an upward trend."

That's fair, actually, as there are 10 million people in L.A. County. But it was also arguably true about another piece of data released earlier this year. In April, the Department of Justice alleged a "disturbing" upward trend in the number of officers killed in 2011 over 2010 and 2008, and The New York Times ran with it

According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008.

The 2011 deaths were the first time that more officers were killed by suspects than car accidents, according to data compiled by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The number was the highest in nearly two decades, excluding those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

While a majority of officers were killed in smaller cities, 13 were killed in cities of 250,000 or more. New York City lost two officers last year. On Sunday, four were wounded by a gunman in Brooklyn, bringing to eight the number of officers shot in the city since December.

"We haven't seen a period of this type of violence in a long time," said Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly of the New York Police Department.

As Choire Sicha at The Awl pointed out, the "The [New York] Times plays this really big and really wrong," adding that "2008 was the ten-year low for police officers being killed, and 2012 is, so far, year-to-date, down 49% from last year. So it's actually the opposite of a trend: last year was a terrible anomaly." 

The Advocacy Center for Equality and Democracy, meanwhile, dinged the NYT for failing to put the officers' deaths in a larger context. Such as this one: "In the only year in which the NYT article and the Bureau of Justice Statistics report overlap, 2008, law enforcement killed roughly 10 times the number of people during arrests (404) than officers killed." 

The two stories aren't apple-to-apple, but they do share a few similarities. Neither piece, for instance, features interviews with law enforcement reform advocates, and both heavily weigh the opinions of the local police chief (NYPD's Ray Kelly and LAPD's Charlie Beck) by putting their quotes at the top. 

There is a striking difference between the two stories: The L.A. Times notes, "So far this year, the rate of police shootings has fallen back to previous levels." The same is true for the number of police officers killed in 2012, but you won't find that in the NYT story from April. 

*Apparently my original paraphrase of this stat confused some folks, so I've quoted the LAT directly.

NEXT: Damon Root on the Libertarian Legal Movement vs. ObamaCare

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Proofread first paragraph (LA County stats).

  2. “…at least 12 of the people killed by police?or 22 percent?were completely unarmed.”
    _
    teh [OG] stand your ground

    1. Fuck, you’re stupid, Urine. Thanks once again for bringing you’re unique brand of idiocy to us here at H’n’R.

      1. you’re

        not like u spell NE better than he duz lol wut?

      2. haha musta hit the nail mr emotive

        1. If by “nail” you mean something completely irrelevant to the discussion. Yes, you definitely hit the “nail.” Gosh, I’m sure you could do it again. Try to link this to anti-Obama racism now!

        2. Maybe your stupidity just overwhelmed his circuits, Piss Facktory. I mean, these are only human lives you’re joking about. Human lives taken by the state with rarely any recourse or punishment. Yeah, why shouldn’t we be joking about it.

          Fuck off, slaver.

          1. they call me mister slaver

            1. The only people that would even think of calling you “Mister” are the friends of your children, and then only to your face because they feel sorry for you.

              1. tell me moar about me

                1. All I want to do is read your obit.

                  1. Why have one more bit of your time wasted, even then?

                    1. cause in the end we’re all obits

    2. No, retard, SYG doesn’t apply to cops (it would be redundant, since they have a blanket license to kill), nor would it apply when you shoot someone who hasn’t attacked you, and is in fact running away from you, particularly if that person is unarmed.

  3. Seventy-Two Cops Were Shot and Killed in the Entire U.S. in 2011; LA County Cops Alone Shot and Killed 54 Suspects the Same Year

    So….you’re saying the LA County pigs have some room for improvement.

  4. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the paper, “By and large these are not shootings of misperception or overreaction.”

    “Nope. We wanted ’em dead, so we deaded them. No mistake there. What part of “respect my authority” and “stop resisting” do you not understand?”

    1. And by “by and large” we mean the 78 percent of our victims who were NOT completely unarmed.

    2. And yet Lindsey Lohan survives year after year.

      1. Why waste a bullet on someone who drugs, cars, or prison is going to kill anyhow?

        1. She’s developed resistance, like a bacteria.

    3. So when they perceived that he was going for a gun, but he wasn’t going for a gun, that wasn’t a misperception. They could have at least said the shooting was a “reasonable misperception”.

  5. When folded into the total number of people killed in the county last year, police killed 1 in 10 L.A. area residents.

    Wow! I didn’t know I only had a 90 percent chance of escaping being shot and killed by the LA police last year! I need to be more alert!

    1. Yeah, that needs to be clarified, I think. If I’m not mistaken, the statistic is supposed to mean that 1 out of 10 deaths in LA County were caused by police.

      1. 1 out of 10 people murdered? killed by being shot? Not clear.

        1. Probably gun-related homicides. There are a lot of people in LA, so that number probably has several qualifications.

      2. Probably, he’s saying that one out of ten people who was killed in LA County was killed by police.

        We’ll never know.

        1. “When folded into the total number of people killed in the county last year, police killed 1 in 10 L.A. area residents.”

          Would it be fair to say that police decimated the LA area residents?

          1. I believe your classical Roman decimation involved having the unlucky 10% beaten to death by their fellows.

            1. So the answer is “yes” then.

  6. EURO CUP

    France v. England, there’s like no one worth rooting for in this game.

    1. I’m rooting for a freak earthquake to collapse the stadium.

      1. The smart money is on a riot. Or riot followed by arson holocaust.

      2. A true Hooligan!

    2. What? Always root against the French, the English will take themselves out presently.

  7. Of those who shot police, how many were considered “justified” by a panel of their peers in a closed-door internal investigation, allowing them to go on with their lives after a short, paid vacation?

    What, that’s not the way it works?

    1. It’s dubious that any of the people police shot were called to the scene by someone needing help from an attacker.

      1. Well,

        (1) The cops were already there, so why call again?

        (2) When the cops are the attackers, why call and ask for more?

    2. you’re obviously just a cop bigot sloop

      /retarded ass dunphy

  8. Since when is anything to do with LA relatable to the rest of the country?

    1. If not for the freak shooting spree of that one nut in the northwest, these stats would be closely aligned with the same %ages in Seattle, NYC and Oakland, CA.

      1. So, you advocate shooting freaks? Monster.

      2. L.A. might not be the greatest place in the world, but please don’t compare us to Oakland. That is the worst shithole on planet earth.

      3. Aah, what do I know? I’m from East Flyover. If the cops here used a rifle to shoot a guy in the back, there’d be consequences.

        1. Cop of the year? A promotion and a raise?

  9. When folded into the total number of people killed in the county last year, police killed 1 in 10 L.A. area residents.

    If only that were true! LA is one of the cities (along with NYC and DC) that needs to be walled off and left for dead.

  10. When folded into the total number of people killed in the county last year, police killed 1 in 10 L.A. area residents.

    Wow cops killed 1.8 million LA area resident last year!

  11. “Seventy-Two Cops Were Shot and Killed in the Entire U.S. in 2011”

    So this is where Allah gets his virgins?

    1. You owe me a new monitor, mouse keyboard to replace the ones I just spewed soda on. That was hilarious.

      +72 internets.

    2. This is possibly the funniest comment I’ve ever read on H’n’R.

  12. Seventy-Two Cops Were Shot and Killed in the Entire U.S. in 2011; LA County Cops Alone Shot and Killed 54 Suspects the Same Year

    I’d be willing to bet that out of the aforementioned 126 killed, 72 of them ended up with taxpayer-funded State Funerals and stretches of highway named after them. I’m not gonna say which ones, but I’m still standing by that number.

  13. My favorite statistic from the past few years: garbagemen have a higher fatality rate than cops. It is literally more dangerous to work for Waste Management than it is to be a cop.

    1. Well good, that just proves that our emphasis on officer safety is paying concrete dividends!

    2. Your favorite uncited unsourced statistic, you mean.

      1. Here you go, Tulpa, cops aren’t even in the top ten.

        I don’t think they are even in the top 20, but I have to dig a little more.

      2. Some conflicting numbers, but here is one survey compiled from BLS data: http://listverse.com/2008/08/2…..cupations/

        And one article from a trade publication: http://waste360.com/mag/waste_…..tion_rated

        Looks like being a garbage man is more dangerous than being a cop.

        1. Shit man, I first heard The Cramps on “Urgh! A Music War”, right around the time I was listening to actual rockabilly like Charlie Feathers. Greg Gutfeld interviewed Lux Interior a few years before his death, though I can’t seem to find the piece. Crazy brother.

      3. Oh, I didn’t realize I had to footnote everything for you, Tulpa. Here. That help?

  14. Seventy-Two Cops Were Shot and Killed

    Nice passive voice.

    1. Kinda hard to nail down the subject for active tense, I would think. Unless it’s “cop-killers” (Riggs!), but that would be redundant.

    2. How would you have phrased it, you weirdo? Occasionally, the passive voice is appropriate.

      1. “Guns Killed 72 Cops Last Year”

        I mean, if I was going for the evil inanimate object approach.

    3. “Libertarians shot and killed 72 cops”, perhaps?

      1. “Radical anti-government extremists shot and killed 72 cops”

    4. “Gun owners, a group who traditionally have been disproportionately white males,” and “people taking advantage of our lax gun control laws” are possibilities.

      Whoops, thought this was Wonkette!

  15. “made a gesture that was perceived as a threat,”

    That “gesture” wasn’t a raised middle finger was it?

    RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!

    1. That was my first thought.

  16. How many cops were slain by pet dogs? I’m told cops often need to kill dogs in self defense.

    1. I think the ammo bill in my town for our police shootifying pit bulls might just break us this year…

  17. I think Chicago might have 72 shooting deaths in a 3 day weekend…but as that is just those icky gang-bangy people shooting each other (with the occasional granny in a chair or little kid in the living room watching TV) – nobody seems to give too much of a damn. Jebus wept.

    1. Now, LTC, don’t exaggerate. The body count in Chicago over Memorial Day was only ten. Two kids though. And “dozens” wounded.

      1. But Chicago has the toughest gun control short of NYC or DC – it, it, it, can’t be possible for all these shootings to be happening! Must be people driving in from the ‘burbs.

  18. *Apparently my original paraphrase of this stat confused some folks, so I’ve quoted the LAT directly.

    Here was the original paraphrase:

    …police killed 1 in 10 L.A. area residents.

  19. Sounds like a bunch of trigger happy yahoos to me dude! Scary.

    http://www.Anony-Net.tk

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.