Police Abuse

2015 Oklahoma Police Shootings Total Surpasses Number of Shootings in All of 2014

Twenty-six and counting

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booking photo

On August 30, Shawn Allen Hall became the 26th person to be shot and killed by law enforcement in the state of Oklahoma this year. There were 25 fatal police shootings in all of 2014, according to data collected by the Tulsa World. In nine instances, the victim was unarmed. All but one of the shootings has been ruled justified or is still under investigation. In the case of Eric Harris, an unarmed man shot by a sheriff's deputy during a gun sting, the deputy, Robert Bates, who says he thought he was using his Taser not his firearm, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. 

According to the Tulsa World, the number of police killings in Oklahoma has remained the same or gone up slightly every year snce 2009. The paper talked to the legal director of the state American Civil Liberties Union to ask about the spike in fatal police shootings. The answer: 

Sadly, the trend is not surprising to me, just because I think that we've got really a perfect storm for police shootings in Oklahoma," ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson said… 

"Trust and rapport between law enforcement and many citizens is at an incredible low," Henderson said. 

"When citizens start thinking that way, what happens is their behaviors change," Henderson said. "They start behaving differently with officers in ways that become more combative, that become more stressful to the officers, which means what happens, the officers start fearing for their safety and so the hands start going closer to the triggers on both sides," Henderson said. 

It's not quite victim-blaming, but the suggestion police are shooting and killing more people because people don't trust the police is disturbing to say the least, leading to a frightening feedback loop of less and less trust and more and more police shootings. 

The World also talked to a defense attorney who often represents police officers about the spike in fatal police shootings. His answer involved failings of the mental-health system, a somewhat standard answer in the effort to deflect responsibility from police actions. He also gave another answer that's become increasingly popular as a go-to excuse for police violence: 

Recent shootings of police also have contributed to law enforcement officers being in a condition of "extremely high alert," [Scott] Wood said. 

"They are in a state of condition red all the time," Wood said. "You can't just pull into the Wal-Mart under a streetlight to work on some reports and think you are going to be OK." 

This is the worst kind of primitive, magical thinking, taking rare events, treating them as common, and then adapting your behavior based on that and not the collection of hard facts. It becomes even more frightening considering the ACLU legal director's suggestion—that the police's trust deficit contributes to behavior by victims of police violence that leads to their death—because it creates a negative feedback loop of violence. 

As we've written here at Reason, there is no war on cops. There's no evidence police shootings are on the rise, and the numbers are well below the contemporary high of 2007, before there was a national police reform movement and sustained media attention on which to blame the killings. 

Yet police apologists are responding to fatal shootings of police officers in a way they never did before coverage of fatal shootings by police officer became somewhat systematic in mainstream media. Police officers are far more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than to be shot and killed in the line of duty. Yet that's not causing any sustained effort to change anyone's behavior. 

Perhaps to understand the ridiculousness of their position, police apologists should consider what the "war on cops" mentality would look like in reverse, if communities plagued by police violence were to respond as if police were waging a war on them. Such rhetoric about a "war on cops," and the attempt to use it to support resistance of police reform, is dangerous, because it contributes to a deficit in trust police apologists and even some police reformers say exacerbates the problem of police violence. 

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  1. POLICE LIVES MATTER!!!!!1!1!!!!1!

  2. Such rhetoric about a “war on cops,” and the attempt to use it to support resistance of police reform, is dangerous, because it contributes to a deficit in trust police apologists and even some police reformers say exacerbates the problem of police violence.

    Cops love encouraging distrust from the populace. They’ve wanted to be at war with the rest of us for decades. They just don’t like it when some of the media isn’t on their side anymore.

    1. They also really hate it when some people join in their counter-insurgency operations cosplay in the role of insurgents.

  3. ?that the police’s trust deficit contributes to behavior by victims of police violence that leads to their death?because it creates a negative feedback look of violence.

    Actually no, Ed. That is a *positive* feedback loop. A negative feedback loop is one in which an increasing input leads to a decreasing and stabilizing output. A positive feedback loop generally results in increasing the undesired effect.

    1. But the feelz are negative so it’s a negative loop. Get outta here science boy!

      1. That may be my Halloween costume this year. “Science Boy” — I like it.

        1. Who is going to play the older gay male who follows you around?

          1. Sounds like we have a volunteer!

            1. Well I didn’t want to be too forward, being a southern gentleman and all.

            2. I’m picturing him in flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt worn open over a Bill Nye t-shirt, carrying a mojito and a slide rule.

              1. I’m picturing him in flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt worn open over a Bill Nye t-shirt, carrying a mojito and a slide rule.

                Good news! I already have that costume.

  4. the suggestion empirical observation that police are shooting and killing more people because people the police don’t trust the police the people is disturbing to say the least

  5. So what are some of the things that kill more police than criminals? Traffic accidents, heart disease and related effects of a sedentary lifestyle, alcoholism. I’m sure there are more.

    1. War games-induced erections lasting more than four hours

      1. Indeed.

        “They are in a state of condition red all the time,” Wood said.

    2. Oh, the top of the “you’ve got to be kidding me” list has got to be this one from ODMP and the laughable OSHP:

      http://www.odmp.org/officer/18983-tro…..holland-ii

      Talk about stretching things. Most normal, decent people would be embarrassed at listing something like this as “dying on the job”.

      Makes you wonder what else they do to pump the numbers up.

      1. I hope they curbstomped that dirtbag wasp.

      2. Tour of 19 years. Really?!? Doing your fucking jobs is now a tour?!?

        1. Yeah, we’re mere “civilians” unlike this guy

      3. Now, just a doggone minute there, Alger.

        Trooper Holland … was assigned as a salvage inspector

        If *that’s* not a hazardous occupation, I don’t know what is.

      4. “When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.” -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder

  6. 26th person to be shot and killed by law enforcement in the state of Oklahoma this year. There were 25 fatal police shootings

    Be fair. The reason there are less fatalities on the police side is because they get medical attention and the perps are left to bleed out, so that’s part of why the numbers are skewed.

    1. Be fair. The reason there are less fatalities on the police side is because they get immediate medical attention and the perps are left to bleed out while forcefully preventing anyone from providing medical attention to the people they shoot, so that’s part of why the numbers are skewed.

      ftfy

  7. Shut up Cracked, Dan O’Brien is a hack and he got fat. How much was David Wong paid for this hatchet job…or did he do it willingly as a true believing Proggie Jugen?

    1. I was going to link that but I figured that the Ghey Marruge/Trumpalooza goings-on had y’all on the edge already.

  8. “They start behaving differently with officers in ways that become more combative, that become more stressful to the officers, which means what happens, the officers start fearing for their safety and so the hands start going closer to the triggers on both sides,” Henderson said.

    By “both sides,” I assume he means cops in Oklahoma carry two guns, Old West-style, right? Surely we would have heard if “civilians” had killed that many cops this year.

    1. Wouldn’t “less deferential” be more accurate and less inflammatory than “more combative”?

  9. The reality is much deeper than any fucking cop or diseased barracuda that defends them will admit to- the rise in violent policing is as simple as the arrogance that bursts like belligerence lava from the foaming mouths of any police union representative. Every arm-cracking club banged or fucking bullet fired under the disguise of a cop ‘abnormally alarmed’ is a middle finger shoved in the face of civil society.

    Law enforcement in totality despises free society and the vast majority of the system has been designed to casually oppress to outright reject the foundations of liberty that form the crucial basis of our existence as Americans. The apex of us being fucking Americans isn’t about the goddamn massive logjam of laws smashed into the back of our necks with your fucking leather boots you fucking god-fearing AMERICA-LOVIN’!!!!!!!!! conservatives and parasitic social justice left-wing bores.

    Violence and brutality blasted on the most exposed and vulnerable is the preferred method of coping with citizens who even slightly deviate within the boundaries of freedom which is why law enforcement public policy and relations apparatuses have become increasingly sophisticated so as to manipulate legislators, the news media, and the endless hordes of uneducated American numskulls that continually vote in presidential dolts that perpetuate systemic rampages inflicted on millions of non-violent Americans and their families.

  10. Funny, but I always thought that when there was a war against someone, like the police for example, that it was that someone who was being shot at. Not the other way around.

    1. Based on my research so far, “War on [X],” in a domestic context, never means that. For example, in the War on Drugs, no one was shooting at any drugs.

      It’s much simpler. It always just means, “Cops kill the populace.”

  11. There is a study, by Forbes, I think, that has been posted here many times before listing the top ten most dangerous jobs. Being a peace officer didn’t even crack the top ten.

    Being a garbage man did. Now that is a stat that I like to bring up in meat space when talking to police cheerleaders.

    1. The 10 Deadliest Jobs:

      1. Logging workers

      2. Fishers and related fishing workers

      3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers

      4. Roofers

      5. Structural iron and steel workers

      6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

      7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

      8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers

      9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

      10. Construction laborers
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja…..st-jobs-2/

      1. I’ve noticed that many of those “Most Dangerous Jobs” lists have been expanded from ten to twenty five, presumably to include cops.

      2. Thank you. Refuse and recyclable material collectors.

  12. Both the “Keep us in our proper places” Republicans and the ‘Social Justice’ Democrats have a vested interest in a largely unaccountable Police force, to keep the Lower Orders down. Both groups, though they would hotly deny it, are scared to death of the idea of freedom for the Peasants. Why, they might want Bad Things!

  13. “When citizens start thinking that way, what happens is their behaviors change,” Henderson said. “They start behaving differently with officers in ways that become more combative, that become more stressful to the officers, which means what happens, the officers start fearing for their safety and so the hands start going closer to the triggers on both sides,” Henderson said.

    Or maybe the cops’ hysterical doomsday cult paranoia makes them a bunch of quivering pussies who place a value of zero on anybody not in their clan.

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