Police

'War on Police' Failure Update: Cop Killings Down in 2015

More killed by accidents than criminals.

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Police cars
Credit: Lane Erickson | Dreamstime.com

Americans are still clearly not waging a "war" on its own police forces. The FBI has just released preliminary stats for the number of police killed in the line of duty for 2015. Despite the rhetoric by some (especially within police departments themselves), there was a significant drop in the number of police feloniously killed during 2015. It was a drop from 51 officers to 41 officers, a 20 percent decrease. By contrast, 45 officers were killed in the line of duty due to accidents (deaths that are determined not to be "willful or intentional"). More police were killed in 2015 in accidents than as a result of assaults.

The full report on police deaths will not be available until the fall, but the FBI is able to detail how the 41 officers died. Of those deaths, four were the result of an "ambush," any sort of prepared trap meant to catch police for the purpose of trying to kill them, and three were killed as the result of an "unprovoked attack." Not exactly a sign that criminals are taking advantage of discontent over police misconduct to go after them.

These numbers come a year after a temporary "spike" in police killings. Last year's numbers were a notable increase in police killings, almost double the number of deaths in 2013. But at the time, I noted that the very low death count in 2013 was an anomaly, and in reality, that increase in the number of deaths for 2014 was nevertheless still below the five-year average of 56 and 10-year average of 55.

So again, we have a year where not only are we seeing a drop in the police killings, but it's a drop that puts their deaths below the average and will push the average down further. But some police union representatives have their victim narrative, and they're not going to give it up. The Guardian contacted Chuck Canterbury of the Fraternal Order of Police, and he is not going to allow data to get in the way of how he feels:

"I think they're going up," he said, citing the 17 officers killed by intentional gunfire so far in 2016. "This year's numbers are up versus last year's, and in 2015 there seemed to be quite a few towards the end of the year."

The Guardian calculated that if the rate of police killings in 2016 remains the same, the year will end with 48 deaths. Yes, that will be an increase over 2015, but again, it will still be below the statistical average. Though, at this rate, the statistical average is obviously going to be dropping to a lower number, and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, the FBI has not yet released any data on non-deadly assaults against police officers for 2015, and that would also help provide some useful context on whether police are seeing increased violence. Just because police officers aren't being killed more doesn't necessarily mean they aren't facing more dangers.

But previous data about police assaults has shown they actually aren't facing more danger. Despite the spike in police killings in 2014, police saw fewer assaults that year than they did in 2013 and 2012. If the trend holds, data may show that in reality, there is even less violence aimed toward police officers, but again, we won't know for certain until the full report in the fall.

In the meantime, read the data the FBI has released here

NEXT: Big Brother is Coming to a Music Festival Near You

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  1. What if they threw a war on police and nobody came? It would get reported anyway.

  2. Interesting how the FBI has detailed numbers on deaths and assaults of cops, but no reliable information on the deaths and assaults committed by cops.

    1. To be fair it is obviously easier to count the smaller number.

    2. Cops are too busy attending state funerals for fallen cops to document those rare cases of bad apples.

      1. +1.5 Time on the Clock at OT pay

    3. There are no penalties for non-reporting.

  3. The Guardian contacted Chuck Canterbury of the Fraternal Order of Police, and he is not going to allow data to get in the way of how he feels:

    Everything they do is based on how they feel, no evidence. The crime rate is going up! Heroin epidemic! War on police! Save us! Support us! Give us more money!

    1. Furtive movement! His hand moved toward his waistband! They felt in danger of their lives!

      1. http://www.thenation.com/artic…..ndict-cop/

        And deference to their feelings is enshrined in law.

        “The Graham analysis essentially prohibits any second-guessing of the officer’s decision to use deadly force: no hindsight is permitted, and wide latitude is granted to the officer’s account of the situation, even if scientific evidence proves it to be mistaken.”

    2. And they’re so sensitive to criticism, too. Their afraid to do their jobs now, lest someone post a video on youtube that will make them feel bad about themselves.

    3. Who knows if he even feels that way for real? He’s probably just lying through his teeth. After all, he’s a cop, and cops are allergic to the truth.

      1. See my link above. All that matters is what the cop said he perceived in the moment. And you can’t disprove what was in someone’s head. So sure, they can lie.

      2. I’m pretty sure he feels he needs more money every single day. If he owned the planet he’d need the galaxy.

  4. OT: White House cites executive privilege, keeps Obama adviser from testifying about Iran nuclear deal

    (TW: Autostart)

    “Specifically, the appearance of a senior presidential adviser before Congress threatens the independence and autonomy of the president, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel in the discharge of his constitutional duties,” W. Neil Eggleston, the White House’s chief lawyer, wrote

    in a torrent of bullshit.

    1. The hearing is on CSPAN 3 right now.

      1. “These experts here are all repeating the same talking points,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said.

        OOOH, BURN!, CUMMINGS! BURN!

        That guy does his same ‘exasperated democrat’ routine every time congress has a sit-down over anything. He’s like the official Mascot for Team Blue to go, “BOOOO, INQUIRY!! PARTISAN WITCH-HUNT! LET LOIS LERNER DO HER JOB!!” He should be given noisemakers and pompoms instead of bothering with his incoherent jawboning.

    2. threatens the independence and autonomy of the president

      Congressional oversight? It is to laugh.

      Congress could probably cut the President’s budget in half without much public backlash, especially if they publicized how huge it is and what its spent on. Throw in a rider that any spending on travel must be approved in advance by Congress, and you’d get the self-absorbed little shit’s attention.

      1. Throw in a rider that any spending on travel must be approved in advance by Congress

        I really like that one. I can’t see any good reason for the president to travel at all, ever.

    3. The executive is explicitly made answerable to the Congress of the United States in matters of potential malfeasance, and is constitutionally subject to the powers of the Congress in instances that necessitate the investigation of executive misconduct by the legislature. This refusal to yield to Congressional authority demonstrates how gutless and powerless our representatives are.

      1. No, presidential advisors are almost never compelled to testify

        Every president calls exec-priv. See = When congress tried to subpoena Harriet Myers and others during the ‘firing of federal prosecutors’ incident.

        1. That practical reality is an abomination.

          1. (shrugs)

            look, congress is always going to use its investigative powers to play politics. the executive has constitutional means by which to avoid getting dragged into their bullshit, and they use it. It doesn’t apply to anyone except the non-cabinet staff who are genuinely just ‘counsel’/consultants.

            in the case of Rhodes, there’s some legit case to be made that if he was saying X/Y/Z to the press, why wouldn’t he repeat those same statements to congress? but it becomes a matter how hard they want to press their case there. if they feel a crime was committed they can force the issue, but if its just something which is supposed to embarrass the president, they usually can’t. Rare exceptions abound.

        2. Seems to me like Rhodes waived any executive privilege he had when he ran his yap to the press.

          That’s the way it works for every other privilege – you break confidentiality, you lose the privilege.

          But, don’t expect a Congress full of lawyers to know even the most basic legal principles.

  5. How many of these killings were justified self-defense?

    I know that such a question would make most cops’ heads explode in confusion, but I assume that’s what happened when someone kills a cop unless it can be proven otherwise.

    1. That was my question, with the following refinement:

      How many of these killings would be justified self-defense if the dead perp wasn’t a cop?

      1. Considering how carelessly cops tend to use force, probably many of them.

        “HE STARTED WALKING IN MY DIRECTION WHEN I CALLED OUT TO HIM. I WAS THREATENED BY HIS LOCOMOTION. I SENSED A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE. I OPENED FIRE INSTANTLY.”

    2. I know that such a question would make most cops’ heads explode in confusion,

      So then the cop death numbers would increase and then the trend would reverse.

    3. Depends on what you consider justified. I’d consider killing a cop trying to arrest you for drugs or other victimless “crimes” justifiable self defense (though obviously you don’t want to do that because you will be dead or in prison forever). Others might disagree.

  6. The ‘War on Cops’ narrative no longer even has to do with cops getting killed. Heather MacDonald’s new narrative is that cops will have their lives ruined by their actions getting videotaped, which is why they aren’t doing their jobs in Chicago anymore and are letting people get shot to death in the inner city.

    Yeah, it’s really stupid

    1. You know, that argument does have some merit. After all, their job is to fill out false reports and lie in court so they can get convictions. People recording them brings actual truth into the picture, and that is indeed detrimental to their ability to do their job.

      1. Conscience: that little voice in your head that says, “someone may be watching”.

        1. That’s why it pays to have you union rep on speed dial.

      2. You know, that argument does have some merit.

        A lot of it is felon-on-felon violence which would seem to be self-solving. At the very least, a situation that the community doesn’t just taze, arrest, shoot, and report its way out of.

        Additionally, the City spends $$$ on The Taste every year to attract crowds downtown to eat the best, most overpriced carnival-style food the city has to offer and a couple dozen people end up shot. You’d think, after a couple years of dwindling attendance, reports of salmonella/food poisoning, and overspending *combined* with people being shot, The City would figure it out.

        1. All of us here know how to reduce the murder rate by over 50%, and it has nothing to do with having more police doing their jobs.

          When you realize government considers failure to be its best incentive program, it explains everything. As long as a few token failures get addressed, government has the anecdotes it needs to pretend it has data.

    2. cops will have their lives ruined by their actions getting videotaped

      IOW, “You can’t handle the truth!”

      Its true – for all but the most devoted copsucker, seeing video of cops killing someone and lying about it does tend to make people upset.

      For the copsuckers, the video goes straight into the spank bank, of course.

      1. Its true – for all but the most devoted copsucker, seeing video of cops killing someone and lying about it does tend to make people upset.

        Sadly, most people will believe it is an isolated incident, not standard procedure, and that justice will eventually be served.

        1. Despite ample evidence that every law on the books is ultimately enforceable with death. People just don’t want to believe what’s right in front of them.

    1. That Bill Clinot has got more ideas a minute than anyone else Hillary knows is probably true, given the impenetrable mob of sycophants she surrounds herself with.

      1. Huma’s mostly thinking about picking all the curly gray hairs out of her teeth.

        1. Paging Barfman.

        2. My corpora cavernosa is now full of blood.

          1. Barfman ! Stat !

        3. Pantsuit friction has mostly rendered it fairly hairless. Think “a surgical glove full of wet cheese curds.”

          1. *dry heaves*

            I should know better than bringing knives to a SugarFree fight.

            1. *groans, collapses to ground*

              I…I read that too.

          2. *projectile vomits*

          3. I’m gonna get fired if I keep coming here. No question.

    2. If elected president, the candidate told supporters, she would ensure that her husband would be put “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”

      Jesus Christ, is she really bringing back “two for the price of one”? Is she really doing that? Did she just do that?

      1. She’s a role model of the strong independent woman, you know.

    3. “Bill Clinton,” Hillary explained, has “got more ideas a minute than anybody I know.”

      How hard it is to think “RAPE, FRIED CHICKEN, FRIED RAPE. CHICKEN RAPE, CHICKEN-FRIED RAPE” a few dozen times a minute, and, honestly, where does that really get us as a nation?

      1. Considering the mutating Lovecraftian horror you’ve painted Hillary to be, perhaps she rendered Bill a chittering lunatic with thoughts careening from lobe to lobe a mile a minute.

        1. The Mad Arab Arkansan, Abdul Alhazred Bill Clinton.

          1. “The bastard son of a thousand maniacs.”

    4. Bill: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
      Hillary: God darnit Bill, you use your tongue prettier than Huma Abedin.

  7. More killed by accidents than criminals.

    I would bet that a majority of this caused by driving too fast.

    1. On their way to stop mass shootings.

      1. nah, that would be dangerous and they are just plebes. Now, if it’s one of their brothers, watch out. There was a policeman shot near my home two years ago, about the time I was driving home. Every cop was converging on the area at like 100 mph. I pulled into a business parking lot to get off the road. They were putting everyone on the road in danger.

        1. My stepson lives in Manchester where there was a recent cop shooting. He couldn’t go to work because they had the entire city on lock-down (shelter in place). I wonder how many people were fired that day for failing to show up to work.

          1. Was Dunkin Donuts open?

            1. +1 Boston (Creme) Strong

          2. The lockdown, while creepy as hell and illegal, is probably good for public safety as it make it far less likely for people to be randomly shot at by trigger happy pigs.

      2. More likely rushing to beat a 15 year old for riding their bike on the sidewalk.

  8. Saw this the other day. For excusing police brutality, it’s duct tape.

    Let’s not go jumping to conclusions here. Remember we’re only hearing one side of the story. We don’t actually know what happened before the video. These good officers may very well have had reason to fear for their safety, and had to make a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation. If you’ve never worn the uniform, you have no idea what it’s like and really have no business spreading misinformation and your misguided opinions about matters you know nothing about. Let’s grow up and just wait for a full and fair investigation, which will conclude that the police were following standard procedure, even if unfortunate mistakes were made in this tragic situation. These brave heroes are, after all, under-staffed, under-paid, and under-appreciated and their training budget was severely slashed in the latest round of budget-cutting.

    1. Wait, is that a parody? It actually reads like something I’d write as a joke, especially the ‘latest round of budget cutting’ nonsense.

      1. Ya know, I may have seen it here at HnR. I saved because it perfectly captures the cop defenders that always show up to comment on stories of police brutality.

    2. I’ve found it somewhat shocking how much money cops actually make. Between overtime and double-time they can bank some serious dollars. And considering how they lie about everything else, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if they pad their paychecks with fictional hours on top of the ones they actually work.

      1. Starting salary here is 100k.
        And that’s 3 days a week.

        1. I assume they also get the fat pension after 20 years and are basically treated like royalty for life?

      2. One of my neighbors is a former and current cop. I think his most recent full time base pay was something below $50k. But he did some trickery with his pension and retired at 45 getting more than his final salary and started putting additions on his house and buying Mercedes. Then started doing part time work for various area PDs.

    3. These good officers may very well have had reason to fear for their safety, and had to make a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation.

      And even if we swallow the reasoning behind this, it doesn’t really excuse cops. I could see a homeowner credibly defending his decision to shoot an intruder as having feared for his life and needing to make a split-second, life-or-death decision; a cop who’s (allegedly) trained and (allegedly) expected to perform on a higher level shouldn’t be excused for panicking under pressure. At the very least it’s a sign of his unfitness for the job.

      1. A good example would be those Limey firefighters who let buildings burn to the ground because attempting to so much as approach them constitutes a risk to their persons. What the fuck is the point of their positions if they won’t subordinate their safety to the demands of the job?

      2. At the very least it’s a sign of his unfitness for the job.

        There is an interesting intersection of various left-wing grievances that plays a part in why there are so many unfit cops. Take a dash of “racially disparate outcomes”, season with “unfair labor practices”, and add “devastating budget cuts” to taste.

      3. Its the narrow focus on the instant the gun was fired that needs to go away.

        Let’s start looking at how many of these life-or-death situations were created by the cops through negligence or worse, why don’t we? I mean, that’s the way it works for the serfs.

  9. 41 deaths in a nation of 330 million often described as deranged gun nuts.

    Interesting that.

    How dangerous is their job? The other day my brother in law was transporting some slabs of styrofoam of which one flew off. The cops were nearby and instead of coming over to say ‘hey, all good are you okay?’ they punched him up on their little fucking computer in hopes of trying to pinch him on something. He’s pretty pro-cop but man was he annoyed by them. ‘Fucken assholes’ he said.

    1. they punched him up on their little fucking computer in hopes of trying to pinch him on something.

      Every time I’ve been a crime victim and was dumb enough to call the cops, that’s all they did. Never a question about the actual crime. They just ran me for warrants, searched me, and left when they couldn’t come up with an excuse to arrest me. That’s why I maintain that anyone who supports the cops has never been a crime victim, and on top of that that crime (as in crimes with actual victims) must really be down in this country. Otherwise more people would be wise to cop bullshit.

      1. I love how they sit all cool with their sunglasses as they do it.

    2. How dangerous is their job?

      Not even in the top 10, if memory serves.

  10. Bet I could lower that number. New category: Suicide by citizen.

  11. Amazing how accurate and detailed State’s stats of citizen on officers deaths are… while State cannot remotely manage to garner the same stats for police on citizen deaths.

    1. Priorities.

  12. Amazing how accurate and detailed State’s stats of citizen on officers deaths are… while State cannot remotely manage to garner the same stats for police on citizen deaths.

  13. Yesterday morning’s Today show had a piece about police and cameras. Dash cams and body cams.

    And guess what the emphasis was?

    You can’t really tell what is going on by looking at camera footage. Particularly if there is no sound. They even had faked example videos.

    In one they showed a body cam of a traffic stop. It looks like the officer starts hitting at the driver and the driver cringes away to protect himself. But add in the audio and you can tell that there is a bee in the car and he’s trying to help shoo it away.

    So that’s the narrative. You can’t believe your lying eyes with dashcam and bodycam video, because in some rare circumstances reality might be wildly different from what the video appears to show.

    All true. But hardly the main concern around the issue of cameras and police accountability.

    1. It looks like the officer starts hitting at the driver and the driver cringes away to protect himself. But add in the audio and you can tell that there is a bee in the car and he’s trying to help shoo it away.

      WTHF?

      It’s like Raiders Of the Lost Arc where if Indiana Jones had done nothing, the story still ends (spoiler alert) with the Nazis opening the Arc and everyone’s face getting melted off. Without the bodycam, assuming the ‘victim’ pressed charges, we’ve either got someone undergoing anaphylaxis from a beating or showing up in court with welts. With the bodycam, we have an officer who pulled someone over to the side of the road and demanded they roll down their window resulting in them getting stung by a bee (and we’ll just never mind the fact that officers routinely allow people to die and/or refuse assistance in similar situations).

      1. Yeah, the stupid was powerful in this one.

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