Michelle Malkin's "Cop Killed Every 58 Hours" Claim Not Truthful UPDATED: With Response From Michelle Malkin


Michelle Malkin waving white flag as a 'Defeatocrat'
Hot Air

In a desperately apologist piece about police at National Review Online, Michelle Malkin writes that 1,501 cops died in the line of duty in the last decade, concluding, as the headline stated, that a cop was killed in the U.S. every 58 hours.

Here is a link to the break down of those 1,500 deaths by year and cause, from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which Malkin cited but didn't link*. And below are the numbers for the 100 cops Malkin said were "killed" last year:

Aircraft accident – 1

Auto Crashes—28

Bomb-Related Incident – 1

Drowned – 2

Electrocuted – 1

Fall – 6

Job-Related Illness – 13

Motorcycle Crashes – 4

Poisoned – 1

Shot – 31

Stabbed – 2

Struck by Vehicle—11

You can use your judgment about which of the types of death above should be included when considering the threat cops face of someone killing them, and search through individual cases here. Only two one* of those categories (shot and stabbed) can be assumed to include only cops killed by someone trying to kill them. Some of them, like job-related illness and aircraft accident, have little if anything to do with the people cops interact with and aren't part of the "war zone" Malkin claims cops operate in every day.

As Anthony Fisher explained yesterday, accurate data on police use of force is hard to come by. An impartial list of people killed by cops last year (in all kinds of situations, justified or otherwise) on Wikipedia includes 316 "civilians".

For even more context, the job of "police officer" doesn't show up on lists of America's ten most dangerous jobs based on federal statistics.

*As commenter P Brooks notes, the shot category may not exclude suicide, which is not listed as a separate cause in the list. It demonstrates why these numbers, while flashy for headlines, aren't all that clear.

*UPDATE: As Malkin correctly points out on Twitter, she did link to the info from the memorial fund on the version of the article that appeared on her website. I read it at National Review, which included no links.

UPDATE 2: Malkin insists on Twitter her column was "accurate." When I asked why such very different deaths would all be lumped in as cops who were "killed in the line of duty," she said the numbers were the memorial fund's, not hers. She said I had my agenda and she had hers. Previously she complained that I called her a police apologist (even though I called her piece that), though her admission of uncritically passing off data from a pro-cop source, coupled with the admission of an agenda (yes, we all have them), makes it seem like it's not just her piece that's police apologist but her too. Cops who died of things like "work-related illnesses" shouldn't be classified as having been "killed in the line of duty," at least not by anyone who's not trying to be a police apologist.