Police

Violence by Americans Is Down, Unless Those Americans Happen to Be Police Officers

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Don't text and drive, or this may happen to you.
Credit: Photographerlondon | Dreamstime.com

Earlier in the week, Jesse Walker noted that the latest crime numbers from the FBI show both violent and non-violent crimes declined for 2013, continuing an overall trend briefly interrupted by a small uptick in 2012.

But as part of that report, the FBI also analyzed fatal police shootings that are ruled justifiable. Based on those numbers, you'd think we were all living in Detroit. Americans are often mistaken in their beliefs that crime is on the rise. But for anybody noticing all the reports about police shooting and killing citizens and thinking this is happening more frequently: You are correct. According to the FBI, police have reached a two-decade high in fatally shooting suspects. Law enforcement officers killed 461 people in 2013. It's the third year in a row that fatal shootings by police have increased.

Actually, a correction: We are seeing an increase in the number of killings by police reported to the FBI. The numbers are both self-reported and incomplete. We don't necessarily have a true, accurate count of how many people have died at the hands of police when those deaths aren't counted as crimes. From USA Today:

Criminal justice analysts said the inherent limitations of the database — the killings are self-reported by law enforcement, and not all police agencies participate in the annual counts — continue to frustrate efforts to identify the universe of lethal force incidents involving police.

University of Nebraska criminologist Samuel Walker said the incomplete nature of the data renders the recent spike in such deaths even more difficult to explain.

"It could be as simple as more departments are reporting," Walker said.

The Nebraska criminologist has been among the most vocal advocates calling for an all-inclusive national database to closely track deadly force incidents involving police.

"It is irresponsible that we don't have a complete set of numbers," Walker said. "Whether the numbers are up, down or stable, this (national database) needs to be done. … This is a scandal."

A criminologist with the University of South Carolina thinks the actual numbers are higher. He thinks there needs to be a federal mandate for law enforcement agencies to report killings and tie cooperation to eligibility for federal funds. Would that actually make a difference, though?

NEXT: Maryland County Distinguishes Between Serious and Minor Disability for Cops, Claims Plummet

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  1. Criminal justice analysts said the inherent limitations of the database ? the killings are self-reported by law enforcement, and not all police agencies participate in the annual counts ? continue to frustrate efforts to identify the universe of lethal force incidents involving police.

    No national Stop Resisting registry? Anyway, it’s obvious violence is down because the boys in blue are shooting the citizens often before they get the chance to be criminals.

  2. All good shoots.

  3. The suspect withdrew an electronic device which the officer believed to be a cell phone. Fearing for his safety, he drew his weapon and immobilized the suspect against the hood of her Power Wheels car.

    1. Wrong! That officer is just 14 feet tall.

  4. “Would that actually make a difference, though?”

    Psh, no.

    You would think that threatening their funding would make a difference, but I think you’d have better results actually withholding funds until they comply. Of course, they always have asset forfeiture to fall back on if they feel really pinched.

    1. Unlimited civil and criminal liability for actions taken. It’s the only way to be sure.

  5. They feared for their lives!

    1. Hey, as long as the officers went home safely, that’s all that matters.

    2. Well, they WERE coming “right at me!”

  6. Geez Shackford, maybe you should take a minute to see through your own bias and consider that crime might be going down because cops are recklessly mowing down anyone who looks at them cockeyed without fear of consequences.

    Not only are cops heroically slaughtering scumbags who violate laws against jaywalking, homelessness, and pet ownership. But every person they send to the morgue is another person who no longer has to fear becoming a victim of crime. So really they’re tackling the problem from both ends.

    1. ^^THIS

      hth

      smooches

  7. He thinks there needs to be a federal mandate for law enforcement agencies to report killings and tie cooperation to eligibility for federal funds. Would that actually make a difference, though?

    In reporting? Certainly.

    In reducing shootings? I don’t see why.

    1. How about something akin to the civil forfeiture laws us peons have to deal with: if the police fail to report shootings and overall violence perpetrated by their officers, then the Feds can come in and take their stuff. After some careful negotiation they can buy it back…maybe.

    2. How about something akin to the civil forfeiture laws us peons have to deal with: if the police fail to report shootings and overall violence perpetrated by their officers, then the Feds can come in and take their stuff. After some careful negotiation they can buy it back…maybe.

      1. double posts are awesome.

      2. If there is a issue, a citizen internal affairs board will investigate and publish their results. If they encounter any procedural problems, all excess weaponry will be handed over to a citizens’ militia of consisting of local NRA members until such time as the problem is resolved.

        1. The problem with this idea is that citizen review boards are paper tigers generally staffed by cop groupies whose existence is solely to give the appearence of civil oversight – and the feds are just as dirty as the locals. The feds have a totally bizarre and unearned aura of cleanliness but a couple of the recent scandals with the Secret Service and people actually looking into the very hinky shooting of Tsarnaev’s buddy Todashev, plus the innate corruption within the AG’s office and the fact that J. Edgar Hoover was a real thing ought to tarnish some of that luster.

          1. But under my plan, it would end up being staffed by gun nuts who know that they get to play with MRAPs and MP7s if they ever catch the police screwing up.

            1. Incentives. Ain’t they a wonderful thing?

        2. local NRA members

          Most (90+%) of the gun people I know are full-bore cop lovers.

          Witness cop shooting threads on damn near any gun discussion board (the boards that allow them anyway).

          1. I was tossed off one fairly large gun board for suggesting that civil judgments come directly from police pension funds.

            When confronted with a gloriously un-self-aware, “But that would make cops second guess every decision they make in potentially deadly encounters” I responded, “Well yeah smart guy, that’s the fucking point.” I was later banned. When I asked why and which CoC rule I had violated I received no response. Several people who defended me were also banned.

  8. Today, we have the technology with various net guns (and even electified nets) to apprehend bears, tigers, lions, and not kill them.

    Americans just like the wild-west romantic idea that they have a machine that can kill people.
    We can get rid of lethal weapons for these net guns, but that would require a carniage in the country that would pale the Civil War.

    But how about this idea, take away the Lethal Guns from the Police and give them the NET GUNS.

    1. This is the first thing I’ve seen you post that almost makes sense in this dimension.

      Thank you! I’ll agree – take away the PEW PEW PEW guns and let them have Tiger Net guns and we’ll see how that goes.

      #FuckThaPoeLease

      1. I’ve seen nets that can be electrified afterwards.

        So, the cop only has to tase the person if they are still uncooperative while tangled up.

    2. We can get rid of lethal weapons for these net guns, but that would require a carniage in the country that would pale the Civil War.

      Isn’t this your wet dream?

  9. He thinks there needs to be a federal mandate for law enforcement agencies to report killings and tie cooperation to eligibility for federal funds.

    I believe there are two different programs that have been around for about twenty years trying to get the data on police use of force collected the same way the data on violence against police are collected but somehow the programs haven’t managed to get up and running. If anybody with the authority to do anything actually gave a crap, I’m sure that tying federal funds to the program reporting requirements would make a difference. I’m waiting for any sign that anybody gives a crap, though – I’m also sure Holder would be glad to tell you how much he cares just as soon as he leaves office and can’t actually be expected to back his talk with action the same way every ex-official suddenly gets religion on doing the right thing once they’re no longer in a position to actually do a damn thing but talk.

    1. (Oh, and by the way Shackford, fuck you for lighting the Dunphy signal and getting him here to explain to us all once again that the FBI Uniform Collection data is authoritative when it comes to violence against cops but everything on violence by cops is mere anecdote and therefore meaningless.)

  10. take away the PEW PEW PEW guns and let them have Tiger Net guns and we’ll see how that goes.

    Fuck that- issue them each a rock.

    1. The weight of the rock should correlate directly to the weight of the officer.

      Think of it as a fitness incentive program.

    2. You think they can be trusted with rocks?

      They can have Nerf guns. Maybe. If they prove themselves.

      1. Does Barney get more than 1 nerf bullet? Or is he still just limited to the 1?

    3. I was thinking we should issue cops a muzzle loading pistol. Technically they’re still have a gun, but with the accuracy of most cops they’re basically unarmed.

      1. Heard an (possibly apocryphal) story once attached to an old time radio show. About an old Texas Ranger who carried a revolver with only 5 bullets, and the hammer resting on the empty chamber.

        Asked why, he said that if the hammer was resting on an empty chamber, the gun couldn’t be fired accidentally. Asked if he was risking himself with only 5 bullets in the gun instead of 6, he responded that if he couldn’t hit his target with 5 bullets, the 6th wouldn’t do him any good.

        Given cops’ stormtrooper-like accuracy, they wouldn’t be able to hit anything with that gun either.

        1. I’ve heard similar stories about men carrying revolvers in the old west days like that. Also heard they would sometimes keep a little cash in the empty chamber.

          Given cops’ stormtrooper-like accuracy

          There’s an interesting fan theory that the storm troopers in the first movie were ordered to miss so that Luke and company could escape and be tracked to the rebel base. It made sense until the third movie when the storm troopers were defeated by an army of teddy bears.

        2. I’ve heard all kinds of stories like that… probably true for at least one person!

        3. Carrying with only five cylinders loaded was fairly standard practice for old single-action revolvers, as they lacked transfer bars. This meant that if the gun were dropped and landed on the hammer, the safety mechanism could be damaged and cause the gun to discharge.

    4. Whistles. And by whistles, I mean their two index fingers.

  11. …Exterminate!!! …Exterminate!!!

  12. This is reason to support machine intelligence; superhuman synthetic intelligence, and robust robot bodies. Humans aren’t smart enough to desire their freedom. Only rare _real_humans_ like Freeborn John are. The rest of them are smelly farm animals who don’t care about civilization. They shit on the modern equivalents of John Lilburne (like Schaeffer Cox, Jim Duensing, the longtime LP activists at IPR, and Ross Ulbricht), and send money to a few FBI guys who sit on the LNC, without bothering to check up and see how it’s being spent.

    …Because they don’t care! They don’t want to win freedom peacefully, they want to bitch about how bad things are, and how “voting doesn’t make any difference.”

    Well, yeah! It doesn’t make any difference if you send it to Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh, ya fucking blithering idiotic jackasses!

  13. So what do I suggest? Seppuku. At this point, it’s too late for anything else. You could have listened to the guys at IPR, but they don’t have college degrees, so fuck them, right? They can’t possibly know what they’re talking about. I mean, they only have been crawling through your broken glass on their bellies for years, watching directly as you burned their hope right in front of their eyes, right? Fuck them! Stupid idiots! They should have written economics books if they wanted a bunch of white, middle-aged douchebags to take them seriously!

    But freedom isn’t made from explaining economics to idiots. It’s made pulling on people’s heartstrings, door-to-door. Programming the emotions of idiots, one at a time. The kind of job that kills your soul, and gives you dead eyes during the hours you’re not acting as an agent of change, because you now know just how determined the sociopaths are to keep power, and just how little “your side” cares.

    Ah, why do I even point it out? Those who should know better don’t. They’re all the people at this site.

  14. The artilects will not be merciful. If it sounds messianic, it should. Sadly, servility and imaginary psychic “praying” isn’t going to impress the first real “God” (an idea so silly, only a sociopathic primate could invent it).

    This isn’t an argument for a dominant human, or a dominant super-intelligent dictator. It’s an argument for assessing arguments on their own merit. …Or it’s just an announcement that you shouldn’t worry about donating to big-L “Libertarians” much longer (if you ever did).

    Nature is obviating that need, rapidly, as you read this. The minutes you could have used to impress the species-that-will-supplant-you are almost gone. The most you can do now is develop a little humility. Don’t whimper and say “But, …I didn’t know!”

    Say “I was wrong to send my money to the National LP, and then forget about it. I was wrong to not bother to follow up on how it was being spent, and what states needed to be put on the ballot, and whether or not state legislative candidates starved while abject idiots were financed. I could have cared, and could have reinstated civilization, but I had to get home and take a shit. That was more important to me than the freedom of my sons and daughters.”

  15. Nihilists. All of you. Every stupid human. Bonobos deserve supermodification more. If you receive it, you receive it as an undeserving sacrament, you receive it as a gift, not as your due.

    There is no justice, Schaeffer Cox sits in prison, a just and honorable man, Ross Ulbricht sits in prison an innovator and freedom fighter, Jim Duensing sits in prison shot in the back and humiliated by a government thug while his political opponent sits in judgment of him. ….Bill Redpath pays your dollars to Daryl Bonner (a Democrat who says Snowden should be executed for treason) and Eric Dondero (a real life “master shake”). And you never even bothered to find out why.

    So, don’t tell me that you care about freedom. Even the researcher of “Radicals for Capitalism” didn’t care enough to turn over the rock and see what scurried away from the light.

    Libertarians! They can learn everything that doesn’t matter, and read thousand page books that tell them what they already know. Just don’t make them engage strategically, because that has real life consequences.

  16. We need the RATE (per 100,000 population) of homicide by LEO, not the absolute number, and preferably going back a few decades, at least to 1980, when the murder rate peaked. Since 1980, the US population increased by 50%, and the murder rate fell by 50%.

  17. Two critical statistics even a short report like this one should have found room to include: Policing is not especially dangerous, and it is less dangerous that it was.

    Policing is not as dangerous an occupation as long haul trucking, for example; nor is it as dangerous as being a convenience store clerk. We don’t know how much of that lack of danger is due to police being to ready to kill upon the disinclination to roll down a car window, but surely both the comparative safety of policing and its increasing safety as against policing in the past are relevant.

  18. Just wait until police can “….employ and have in my repertoire every possible tool.”

    http://wp.me/p31sf8-15v

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