An article in the Washington Post, Fatal Shooting by on-duty officers: An analysis, highlights that between 2005 – 2015, 54 officers were charged for fatally shooting a citizen. In order to provide a context, I must share data from my previous post.
In 2015, the number of documented people killed by the police was 1,156. In 2016, the number was 960. Prior to 2015 no reliable data on police killings existed anywhere in the world. If we do an average of the past two years and apply the resultant number to the 2005 – 2015 period we can estimate that the police killed over 10,000 people. I am making no suggestions about justifiability or not.
Additionally, current data shows that about 30% of those killed by the police were unarmed. Again, we can best estimate that over 3,000 unarmed people were killed by the police between 2005 and 2015.
In summary, of the estimated 10,000 citizens who have been killed over the past 10 years, only 54 officers have been charged with a crime and 21 of those officers were acquitted or had their charges dropped. Jurors made of fellow citizens are extremely hesitant to convict an officer despite overwhelming evidence.
Forty percent of those killed by police started as a traffic stop or a domestic call. Interestingly, the most common and the most dangerous interaction for officers are traffic stops and domestic calls. Domestic calls and traffic stops make up about 30% of those killed by the police.
Additional and focused training of officers combined with a decrease in the number of illegal guns available would greatly decrease the number of citizens killed by the police. But while solutions are being developed and implemented we need to help the police not to kill or injure us. I am in no way suggesting that the issues surrounding the crisis of police interactions falls solely on the citizens. We all have to help. We, including the police, must assisted in saving one another. We must train ourselves. Citizens must be the cavalry.
The likely outcome of many life-threatening interactions between the police and citizens has likely been determined before the stop. We must teach and train our loved ones on how to interact with the police now- before the next stop. There are hundreds of things we should do when interacting with officers during those initial moments. But there are about 11 MUST that stand out. We will highlight 3.
- You MUST accept that during the encounter with the officer, the officer has all the power. The officer has the authority to kill you if he/she feels threatened. Your power comes after leaving the interaction alive and unharmed.
- No sudden movements and ask to move before you do.
- You MUST do everything the officers tells you to do.
The data shows that because of the unique focus that law enforcement and the legal community have on black males it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that we train our boys, adolescents, fathers, sons and loved ones how to act when encountering any type of officer (good or bad).