Eric Garner

The NYPD Shoots and Kills Less Often Than Cops in the Rest of the Country

Fatal killings by the NYPD have fallen by a factor of 12 since 1971.

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On July 17, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo brutally choked to death Eric Garner, an unarmed man. On November 20, NYPD Officer Peter Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley, who was also unarmed, in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. On December 9, an NYPD officer shot and killed Calvin Peters, who had just stabbed another man at a Brooklyn synagogue and reportedly lunged at the police with a knife. Last week, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that the department would purchase an additional 450 tasers as a "nonlethal method officers could use."

One of the most common chants at the two anti-police abuse protests I covered recently (see here and here) was: "NYPD, KKK, how many people did you kill today?" 

Let's be clear: One fatal shooting by a cop is one fatal shooting too many. And the horrifying murder of Eric Garner is indicative of big problems at the NYPD, and let's hope that the recent protests lead to meaningful reforms.

Protest, Grand Central Station, NYC, December 3, 2014 |||

But when attending these protests, one might get the misimpression that the NYPD stands out among the nation's police departments in its overuse of deadly force. In fact, New York cops shoot and kill many fewer people than cops in the rest of the country. And fatal shootings by the NYPD have fallen significantly over the years.

In 2013, eight people were shot and killed by the NYPD. New York City had 8.4 million residents in 2013, so that works out to about one fatal shooting per million residents. As Scott Shackford has noted, there are no reliable national stats to compare this to. But even if we accept the FBI's lowball figure of 461 fatal shootings by cops in 2013 (the real figure may be more than double that), that translates to 1.5 people killed by cops for every one million U.S. residents, or a rate that's about 50 percent higher than in New York City.

And the historical numbers demonstrate that—thankfully—ubiquitous cameras and social media are raising public awareness of these issues. In 1971—both an unusually violent year and the first year the NYPD started reporting these stats—93 people were shot and killed by cops in New York City. The city's population was 7.8 million in 1971, so that works out to about 12 killings for every million residents!

I put together a chart (see below) showing how fatal shootings by the NYPD have fallen since 1971 per million New York City residents.

H/T: Harry Siegel's Twitter feed.

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  1. This is just because they’re terrible shots.

    1. And anyway, they prefer to choke ’em.

      1. “Don’t choke ’em. Smoke ’em” over picture of smoking gun.

        — T-shirts sold by Portland police officers on the day of the funeral for man killed in chokehold.

    2. This is more correct than you can possibly know.

      1. Yes, remember a while back when they shot at a suspected killer in Manhattan and managed to hit 9 bystanders in a hail of panic fire?

        1. We just wing ’em and everyone nearby!

      2. “Does the NYPD need to choke a bitch…??”

  2. You’re not supporting the narrative, Mr. Epstein. We’re all supposed to be outraged by the growing epidemic of racist cops shooting innocent people for no reason. You know, like the epidemic of campus gang-rapes at fraternity initiations.

    1. for no reason

      The “no reason” shootings are plainly prosecutable. It’s the “trivial reason” and the “in spite of having all kinds of reason not to” shootings and other abuses of power that bug me.

    2. We can be outraged again because Obama lost the midterm elections.

      1. FUCK YOU JERRY! OBAMA DIDN’T LOSE THOSE ELECTIONS – THE PEOPLE NOT LISTENING TO HIM LOST THE ELECTIONS!

        If they’d have just listed to Dear Leader and voiced more explicit support for PPACA, immigration amnesty and fixing Global Warming Change, the Democrats would have a majority in both houses come January.

        But since they didn’t, they won’t.

        The outrage isn’t that they lost, it’s that they COULD HAVE WON BUT DIDN’T LISTEN TO THE PRESIDENT!!

        1. Posted too soon – should include at the end….

          /progderp

  3. They usually let the Ports Authority do the shooting for them.

  4. It might be interesting to compare the numbers of times they discharge their weapons. See who is the most trigger happy (and the best shot).

  5. Police brutality just breeds more brutality: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts made by company that pays workers $6 per day. For extra brutality, it’s in Comic Sans!

    1. I love when SJW talking points clash.

  6. I thought the whole schtick about police shootings was that we didn’t know because not everyone participated in the FBI statistics program. So how do we know the NYPD shoots fewer people?

    1. rtfa, dude

      n 2013, eight people were shot and killed by the NYPD. New York City had 8.4 million residents in 2013, so that works out to about one fatal shooting per million residents. As Scott Shackford has noted, there are no reliable national stats to compare this to. But even if we accept the FBI’s lowball figure of 461 fatal shootings by cops in 2013 (the real figure may be more than double that), that translates to 1.5 people killed by cops for every one million U.S. residents, or a rate that’s about 50 percent higher than in New York City.

      And if the real figure is closer to a thousand as some claim, then the national rate doubles to 3 people per million, making it three times that of NYC.

      1. rtfa, dude

        You know, you ask a lot of a brother, sarc….

        We’re Reasonoids, dude. Come on.

      2. Tallest midget?

  7. Good to know. Now we need to figure out what factors make NYC better in this regard than the rest of the country, and what makes it better in the 21st C. than in the 1970s, and see if those conditions can be reproduced to make things better.

    1. That sounds like a lot of work.

      Ima just bitch and hope I die (of relatively-natural causes) before it gets much worse.

  8. Now we need to figure out what factors make NYC better in this regard than the rest of the country

    Stop and Frisk.

    duh

  9. Sounds like a challenge

  10. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..ak-in.html

    Shockingly this family of citizen’s arresters weren’t arrested themselves. It’s also unusual that the cops actually followed up on a case where a citizen did all the police work for them.

    1. Maybe in Alabama the cops are OK with citizens stopping crime.

      What startled me was the guy they arrested: so is this pants-falling-down thing now for white guys, too?

      1. I hear they listen to rap music now too.

        1. I knew that, but have not seen white guys do the pants thing.

  11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..24804.html

    Cop roughs up and tasers old man for having expired temporary tags.

    1. I knew that wasn’t in CA because I often see cars without plates or tags at all.

  12. How does this compare with Albuquerque, NM?

  13. “NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo brutally choked to death Eric Garner”

    False. Garner died because he was morbidly obese and his body couldn’t handle the struggle HE STARTED. A person cannot say anything if he is ACTUALLY being choked to death, yet Garner was audibly saying “I can’t breath”.

    “NYPD Officer Peter Liang shot and killed Akai Gurley, who was also unarmed”

    It’s pathetic how so many think “unarmed” somehow translates into “completely harmless”. People, including cops, get beaten to death every year by “unarmed” people.

    “an NYPD officer shot and killed Calvin Peters, who had just stabbed another man at a Brooklyn synagogue and reportedly lunged at the police with a knife”

    Sounds pretty justified.

    “Let’s be clear: One fatal shooting by a cop is one fatal shooting too many.”

    In a fantasy world, that does not, nor cannot exist, I guess you can say this. In the ACTUAL world, this is categorically false.

    “the horrifying murder of Eric Garner is indicative of big problems at the NYPD”

    Garner wasn’t murdered; you’re simply being dishonest by calling it that. The death of Garner is tragic as it is indicative of OVER-REGULATION. The police are to enforce regulation. When someone resists that regulation, violence is used. If you’re mad Garner died under the circumstances in which he died, be mad at the citizens that WANTED that legislation and INSISTED the police enforce that regulation.

    1. Copsucker sucks cops.

      News at 11.

      Just to pick his/her/its first assertion:

      Garner died because he was morbidly obese and his body couldn’t handle the struggle HE STARTED.

      He did not start the struggle. He only offered verbal protests. The cops laid hands on him.

      From wiki:

      After the incident, city medical examiners concluded that Garner was killed by neck compression, along with “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police”.

      As far as him being obese goes, well, why shouldn’t the cops be held responsible for his death regardless? Out in the real world, its called the “eggshell skull” rule, and defendants have to take their victims as they find them.

      A person cannot say anything if he is ACTUALLY being choked to death, yet Garner was audibly saying “I can’t breath”.

      Sure you can. Its easily possible to gasp out a protest when your windpipe is being compressed to the point where you’re not getting enough air.

      Besides, his death could have come from the cops sitting on him. Either way, he’s dead because the cops laid hands on him.

  14. This is because the NYPD shoots and MISSES more often that other departments.

  15. “One fatal shooting by a cop is one fatal shooting too many.”

    It may be that one “unjustified” fatal shooting is one too many. It may even be that one “justified” but “unnecessary” fatal shooting is one too many. (And frankly, drop the adjective “fatal”: Every shooting is presumed ahead of time to have a fatal outcome, even if most people do in fact survive being shot.) But (using as an example the footage of Orgeon State Police Trooper Matthew Zistel (who, frankly, waited too long to shoot)), there are plenty of fatal shootings that no one should lose sleep over: Had Zistel missed, that would have been one fatal shooting too few). Otherwise, you’re saying in effect the police ? all police ? should be unarmed. To which the appropriate response is: Are you F-ing insane?

    Side note: Most sensible agencies refer to Tasers as “less lethal,” not “non-lethal” options (a distinction that often corresponds to the level of resistance and characteristics of the individual suspect upon whom a Taser may be appropriately deployed). Taser itself describes LE models like the X26 as a “less lethal” device. Perhaps Bratton misspoke; if not, it’s a curious word choice.

  16. Why bring up shooting stats when Eric Garner wasn’t shot?

  17. “Let’s be clear: One fatal shooting by a cop is one fatal shooting too many.”

    Surely there’s a qualifier missing there. Like “unjustified,” for example?

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