In a post titled Just Another Day At The Murders, Billy Beck shares a question asked by James Anderson Merritt regarding another apparent wrongful police shooting, resulting in the death of Marine and Iraq war veteran (2 tours) Jose Guerena. Merritt’s question is this.
“How many more stories like this will it take—how many more innocent people will die—before the country gets mad-as-hell enough to demand the end of the Drug War? I have been asking that question now for at least the past ten years. The crickets answer me.”
Though Radley Balko posts many stories regarding wrongful “drug war” police shootings resulting in the deaths of innocent Americans, he has no compilation of statistics on wrongful police shootings resulting in the death of an innocent individual.
I decided to do a bit of searching for just such wrongful death police shootings statistics, this morning, and I’ve come up short, but I did locate one interesting article which somewhat addresses this lack of statistical data on wrongful police shootings resulting in death at the website Blue Must Be True.
The article is titled How Often Do Police Use Excessive Force?, and here are a couple of interesting quotes from the piece. First, the answer to the question posed in the title.
“The incidence of wrongful use of force by police is unknown. Research is critically needed to determine reliably, validly, and precisely how often transgressions of use-of-force powers occur.” National Institute of Justice Research Report, Use of Force by Police, Overview of National and Local Data, October 1999, Ch. 1, pg.10 (link to this provided at site is defunct – ed.).
Additionally, the piece provides a possibly clear answer as to why statistics on wrongful police shootings resulting in the death of innocent individuals are unknown.
Another study conducted by Neal Trautman, Director of The National Institute of Ethics and presented at a conference of The International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2000 had even more stunning statistics concerning the police “Code of Silence.” It provided the following about police recruits:
Twenty-five basic law enforcement academies from 16 states took part in the research by administering and collecting 1,016 confidential questionnaires completed by academy recruits. The findings included that:
•79% said that a law enforcement Code of Silence exists and is fairly common throughout the nation.
•52% said the fact that a Code of Silence exists doesn’t really bother them.
•24% said the Code of Silence is more justified when excessive force involves a citizen who’s abusive.
•46% said they would not tell on another officer for having sex on duty.
•23% said they wouldn’t tell on another cop for regularly smoking marijuana off duty.
Another reason statistics on wrongful police shootings resulting in death of innocent individuals are unknown can be illustrated by a story out of Detroit, Michigan headlined Detroit Police Department seeks to dismiss officer whose fatal shootings have cost the city $7.5M, wherein we read this.
Detroit police are using accusations of payroll fraud to try to dismiss an officer whose fatal shootings have cost the city $7.5 million.
Isn’t it disturbing that a cop who has shot and killed two individuals, evidently wrongly if their killings are costing the city $7.5 million dollars, can’t be dismissed for killing people, but may possibly be dismissed for payroll fraud? And even dismissal for payroll fraud is only a possibility.
Billy is correct, in ending his post, with this statement.
They’re just hauling-off and killing us.