As long as I'm posting to this thread, may as well mention this recent event: Unarmed 17-Year-Old Fatally Shot as He Ran From East Pittsburgh Police
Quote from woman at the scene: “Why are they shooting?” the woman recording the video says. “All they did was run and they’re shooting at them!”
This, I think, is a legal and cultural matter. Under UK law, a policeman who shot someone running away would stand a serious risk of being charged with murder (or at least unlawful killing of come kind). The only legal justification to shoot people is defense of yourself or others (and maybe property - don't quite remember).
In at least some jurisdictions in the US, running away from the police in and of itself is considered a legitimate legal justification for shooting someone. This I don't understand.
Take away most officer's guns, no murder. Only officers in special units should have guns.
I think there's a bit more to it than this. Here in Czech Republic the police all carry guns, but it's very rare for them to shoot someone. I do not think this is because the police here are more professional or better at their jobs - experience suggests this is clearly not the case. I think it's because, despite the fact that gun laws here are fairly liberal, very few people actually own guns; and even fewer carry them around with them. When police stop a car here, the idea that they risk being shot probably never enters their heads, and this affects the way the approach the situation.
Of course this statistic should be verified, but if DeRay McKesson is correct then police officers commit murders at a rate more than a hundred times greater than their proportion of the population.
He is not correct, if you're quoting him accurately. The research on which this claim is ultimately based is here. It's an attempt to estimate the total number of people killed by police in the US. This includes justifiable homicides in the course of duty and people killed by accident. The actual claim of the researchers is that the police are responsible for approximately one third of homicides committed by a stranger. They make no claims about the proportions of murders, manslaughters and justifiable homicides.
I couldn't where in that paper (Estimating Undocumented Homicides with Two Lists and List Dependence) it says anything about murder by strangers. It's main focus seems to be unreported police homicides in not just the United States but other countries, too.
That paper doesn't say anything about murders by strangers; but that paper is the source of the estimate for how many homicides the police commit in the US on which the subsequent claim is based. Here is a magazine article by one of the authors of the paper describing their research. It's here he points out that..
quote:(...)the estimate of 1,500 police homicides per year would mean that eight to ten per cent of all American homicide victims are killed by the police. Of all American homicide victims killed by people they don’t know, approximately one-third of them are victims of the police.
The only information I used from DeRay McKesson was that one third of murders by strangers are committed by police.
And that's not true, or at least unevidenced, as not all homicides are murder.
Taking the lower figure that 8% of murdered Americans are murdered by police
It's not a lower figure - it's the same estimate. About 75% killed by someone they know; about 8% killed by police. 8% is approximately a third of the 25% killed by strangers (it ignores the negligible overlap, since the estimate of people killed by police is looking at killings 'on the job' - not cases where a policeman kills his wife at home).
You're missing the part I was questioning. I'm not arguing about the number. I'm saying it's not a count of people murdered by police. It's a count of homicides committed by police. The police could commit thousands of homicides without murdering anyone. Homicide is not the same thing as murder. Murder is one type of homicide.
We need different data to know how many police homicides are murders.
So where does DeRay McKesson's figure of 33% come from? It's explained in the article The Government Won’t Track Police Killings, So This 24-Year-Old Took the Lead. Sam Sinyangwe, a data scientist and activist, wondered if the available statistics about police violence could be trusted. Working with fellow activists DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie they developed the Mapping Police Violence website. The 33% figure comes out of data they gathered.
I don't see this mentioned in the article you linked or on the Mapping Police VIolence website. I think it's more likely to come from the source I already showed you that does explicitly mention the 'one third' estimate, and is the ultimate source cited anywhere I found the claim that bothered to cite a source.
The speaker, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (played by Tommy Lee Jones), continues on about how times have changed, have become more violent. He ponders how the old-timers would have handled it, would they carry guns today. Don't know, but I'd like to think not. Of course this is a movie drama adaptation from a book of fiction, so who knows if any old time sheriffs really went without guns.
He talks about the younger Jim Scarborough, but funnily enough there was an even younger one. Three generations of Jim Scarborough were sheriff of Kleberg County. The one referred to in the quote appears to be the middle one, and the claim is reported as true in The Texas Sheriff: Lord of the County Line. The book reports he was not unique:
quote:Although they might carry backup weapons in their cars, a good many sheriffs chose to go about their daily business unarmed. Some nineteenth-centruy Texas sheriffs had done the same, and this at a time when many men still went openly armed. Sheriff A. J. Spradley of Nacogdoches (...) told his biographer about several Texas sheriffs who went unarmed during long and successful careers.
The book has a few anecdotes about these unarmed sheriffs. Jim Scarborough is quoted as saying "If I ever had a gun, I probably would have killed somebody, a six-shooter never solved a problem". The book says something about Boykin and guns too, but the relevant pages in the Google Books preview are missing.
It also talks about several other trigger-happy sheriffs, though. The very A. J. Spradley mentioned above killed a lot of people, and supposedly had a specially designed holster that allowed him to rotate and fire his pistol without having to draw it.
First of all, police encounters have been documented for a longer period of time than there's been smart phones used by the general public. Law enforcement knows that audio/visual recordings weeds out the officers who would use excessive force and protects good cops from false accusations. So the assertion that police are out to "maintain secrecy" is misguided and misinformed.
As to the auditors, and I'm speaking in generalities as some are actually respectable, I find most of them needlessly antagonistic. The goal is to CREATE an encounter, not merely document one, vis a vis by instigating one through self-fulfilling prophecy.
We used to do 'auditing' in my reckless youth when I did a lot of political protesting, but we didn't call it that. It was actually the police who started it (for context, this is the UK I'm talking about) - they would very conspicuously film protestors, so as to remind people who might get carried away that they will be prosecuted if they do something criminal.
In response, we started conspicuously filming the police, to make the point that their actions were being recorded too, should they get carried away in the heat of the moment. Most had no issue with this, but you get the odd hothead who would try to stop you from filming (which they had no legal right to do).
So I stumbled across a story today from Detroit, which gives a slightly different angle on Percy's trigger-happy cops stories - police shooting dogs
9 year old Elijah was out walking his two dogs, but they got free and ran down the street. He summoned a passing police car to help. The police stopped, apparently decided one of the dogs was dangerous, and shot it in the face.
As context, the story on Reason magazine discusses the department's history of shooting dogs (54 in 2017), and some of the law suits the city has been forced to settle as a result. This includes $225,000 paid out to the owners of three dogs shot in their own backyard. The police wanted to be enter the yard in order to sieze marijuana plants growing there, so they killed all the dogs. Drugs raids apparently account for about a third of the doggy death toll at the hands of Detroit PD.
An aside: The fact that the man was shot while lying on the ground is troubling. That he was wearing a suicide vest potentially with explosives (that turned out to be fake) is also troubling, since a bullet could have set it off. It reads like the British are not well trained for guns and bombs.
You seem to have this a bit backwards if you're of the opinion that an apparent suicide vest makes shooting him less appropriate. It is, on the contrary, one of those rare occasions where shooting him dead is exactly what the police should be doing.
Any risk that the vest might go off doesn't seem acceptable.
Not shooting him presents the risk that the vest would go off by him setting it off. Which leaves no acceptable action for the police.
I understand your concerns about police overreacting and shooting people unnecessarily. Indeed, it happened in the UK - we all remember the innocent Brazilian man the police gunned down in paranoid overreaction to the fear of terrorism after September 11th. But this individual was not a suspect, or an escaping felon, or someone who may have been holding something that looked a bit like a weapon. He was an actual murderer actively trying to kill people while the police watched. There is a point at which it's okay to pull the trigger.
I don't know how it works in the UK, but I imagine that the rationale is similar if not exact to US methodology -- that the only reason to ever fire your weapon is only if there is a deadly force situation.
That is, indeed, official policy. British police are authorised to fire only "when absolutely necessary in self-defence or in defence of another when there is an immediate risk to life from unlawful violence".
There will be a detailed inquest, the police are covered by the same law of reasonable force as I am. Our criminal justice system is very robust, if it was an unlawful killing, we'll find out.
While on the whole I agree that Percy is clutching at straws in a stubborn refusal to accept that a police shooting can be justified, the above is childishly naive. How many British police have been successfully convicted for murdering someone? I'll give you a clue - it's less than one.
If you think every shooting in the history of the British police force was A-OK then I have a bridge you might be interested in.
I have a lot of faith in our criminal justice system - it's man made so it has flaws but it's pretty much the best there is. If we ask our police to defend us from fundamentalist lunatics that want to kill as many people as they can, as quickly as they can, we have to live with them taking actions like this and support them when they do - until it's proven wrong.
I have no qualms about police action in this case, I'm concerned about your belief that if they'd done something wrong that would somehow magically be revealed. Two things seem clear to me:
1. The police in Britain are essentially immune from prosecution for their actions.
This one is clear from results; but in fairness could be explained by the police in Britain never abusing their power. However other things are clear to me
2. The police in Britain regularly abuse their power. This is based on personal experience so I don't expect you to believe it, but it's intended more to explain my thinking.
Maybe I should try and make this argument better when sober.