Having said that, this is an emotional issue and does need some solution. There was a recent article about a black Google VP who was hiding in her office when there was some sort of active-shooter threat on the YouTube campus. She was as much afraid of being shot by this threat, as she was of mistakenly being shot by a police SWAT team... that's a real fear in a person of privilege (highly educated and positioned high in a Fortune 500 corporate hierarchy) and that's not good. There is a lot of trust that needs to be regained that all the calls to 'defund the police' miss. Maybe we need more funding (not less), for things like training in community interactions and deescalation. Why not have police officer spend 1 day out of every month, doing some sort of simulation training on deescalation and community outreach and .. heck .. 'customer service' - it's going to be expensive, but social strife is expensive too.
Clearly this are problems that needs to be addressed.
My opinion is, that the first step to solve this issue are good safety nets for everyone.
Sentence lengths need to be reduced and victimless crimes should not be punished.
The prison system must be rebuild from the ground up to reintegrate offenders to reduce the risk of re-offending.
Police training needs to be improved as well. It can't be that two sober cops end up shooting a drunk that is sobering up in his car in the back because they are unable to handle such a ordinary situation.
Your characterization of the recent killing of Mr. Brooks is incomplete. Brooks fought against the police and fired a taser (a deadly weapon according to the Atlanta DA) at the officers giving him chase. They were absolutely justified in shooting him.
The problem we have in America is that many people think it's ok to fight the police. Almost all publicized police killings in recent years are a result of suspects resisting arrest in a violent manner, escalating things to the point where force is required to control them. Of course this doesn't fit the narrative, so it's ignored.
Nevertheless, the incident shows at best how grossly incompetent the police in the US are,however manslaughter is certainly also a reasonable interpretation.
Alcohol is the most dangerous drug. Are merchants responsible if they sell alcohol?
So yes, he did pose a serious threat and had to be stopped. He brought his death upon himself through his own actions. My feelings on this are completely independent of his race or other superficial characteristics.
I mean 40 times higher than the developed world. Do you agree, that this is an unacceptable level of violence?
It can be, depending on how it is used.
> How many times can a taser be fired?
This depends on the model but ones which can fire multiple shots are issued to police.
>Brooks is running away, are you seriously suggesting that he posed a serious thread to the officers?
Yes, because he did.
Police killed in the line of duty is higher than anywhere else as well. The per capita murder rate may only be 5 times higher, but the variance is high too. If you sort this table by murder rate (crime rates per 100,000 of top 100 urban center in US), the number are quite stark. The top 4 cities in that list, are in the global top 50 of cities with highest murder rates (St.Louis is actually in the top 10).
>My opinion is, that the first step to solve this issue are good safety nets for everyone.
Social spending is through the roof already. Federal budget alone allocates the vast majority to healthcare, welfare and social security (and defense). Then you have state and municipal budget putting in billions more. It's not enough to say, 'spend more'. I don't subscribe to the notion that crime is a result of lack of social spending. Hong Kong has immense income inequality, and lots of poverty, but is a very safe city. There are obviously other factors as well.
>Sentence lengths need to be reduced and victimless crimes should not be punished.
There is a common trope that prisons are filled with either innocent people or non-violent drug offenders. That's not true, at all. There is no meaningful prison reform (if your goal is to reduce incarceration rates) without also reducing sentences for or releasing of violent offenders (who comprise the vast majority of prisoners).
People tend to say they want shorter prison sentences, and then you hear about some horrific rape or murder and there are calls for jailing the individual for life. Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for third-degree rape. In most countries, he would get probation, at most. In most developed countries, life sentences are limited to 25 years with parole typical after 15 years (and no stacking of sentences). Are you sure the American public would be OK with that?
>Police training needs to be improved as well.
Agreed. It's going to be expensive, but it's worth the cost.
>It can't be that two sober cops end up shooting a drunk that is sobering up in his car in the back because they are unable to handle such a ordinary situation.
That was a not a clear-cut circumstance. I'm not 100% sure police in any other country would have acted differently in that situation. I fully agree about not shooting an unarmed individual running away. But this situation had an individual who assaulted police officers and stole their weapon and fired it at them. That complicates things for you immensely. This is also where police officer should get the benefit of the doubt because they need to make a risk-analysis to the public and to themselves in the span on 1 or 2 seconds. With no weapon involved, we should expect them to err on preserving a life. With a weapon involved, it's different.
I mean it is factor 40. This are third world numbers. I don' really think there is a valid excuse for that.
It may be that the majority of prisoners are there for violent crimes. But how many of them were in prison for a non-violent offence the first time?
The percentage of innocent people in prison is probably below 10%. But the number of exonerations of the innocent project and the difficulties and issues they uncover, make it hard to believe, that it is in the lower single digit range. Most of the time it is just pure luck that a false conviction is overturned. So there must be many more.
Today we know just how unreliable eye-witness testimony is, especially of a different ethnicity, yet it has been a major way criminals are identified.
Also sentencing reforms are needed as well as more effort into rehabilitation and preparation to become contributing members of society for non violent felons.
On the other hand the issue is way over politicized and then you have opportunists who use this as an excuse to agitate and cause rioting and looting (as opposed to political protesting).
Moreover there is a coöpting of the movement by totally unaffected people (non-black non-poor whites) and its to the point in LA inner city “gangs” run off the middle class protesters/agitators because they don’t find affinity in them.
I would caution with attaching privilege to anyone. We have seen Harvard graduates accusing people of profiting from privilege while having day-to-day wage-jobs. If the concept is too complicated for "elite"-graduates, it probably doesn't help in a general discussion. Especially not if the topic is emotional as you said.
I think more funding for better training is indeed a good idea. That police officers are accused of murder by shooting someone resisting arrest and shooting back is also a catastrophe. We also have seen people cooperating being shot. These should be handled differently of course.
I feel that the idea of a racial bias behind police killings in the US is misguided. The issue exists, but as this study seems to prove, it's not an issue of police killing too many blacks- the issue is of police killing too easily. This simply doesn't happen in other countries.
If you approach the problem as one of racial bias, while still expecting police officers to escalate confrontations and meet any potential threat with lethal force- which is the real issue IMO- then the problem is never going to be solved.
But the study suggests that this fear, while real, is misguided: she's getting this from sensationalized news reporting and hyperbolic movies/television rather than anything based in reality.
Is assuming you're in a vacuum based on reality for someone on Earth who is experiencing symptoms of hypoxia like astronauts would?
Here is how the police described it in the official MPD report:
"Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later."
When we underwent active shooter training at work, part of it was dedicated to how to behave if/when there is a police response. Fear is unfortunate but being acutely aware of your actions in a situation like that is down right responsible.
I think theres a certain set of people who hear "no statistical proof of bias, and emotional issues arent real issues"... so while I agree with you, I just want to emphasize the huge space of systematic problems that cause the emotional issue.
The linked critical letter: https://www.pnas.org/content/117/3/1261
That's my layman reading of this, as the language is a bit opaque. If that is their assertion, this kind of error seems like such a rookie mistake I would sympathize with someone who thought that neglect was ideological or misrepresented. Personally, I think in politics and policy, data is used for support not illumination. The only way data ever causes anyone to change their mind is if it comes from a poll. That's my skepticism, but a more capable reading of the criticism would be useful.
2. This study focuses on police shootings, not use of force. So choking a civilian to death wouldn't count.
3. It also doesn't measure how often the officer involved escalated the situation.
But I get it, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t draw headlines, it doesn’t draw middle class protesters.
Are you aware of any?
i suspect people who feel their life is on the line are considering seriously all methods for making change, including reviewing all available research
note that the article mentions criticism of their work, includes a response, and a note about reassessing certain aspects.
Consider what else you may be ignoring as you seize an answer that feels concrete and rational, and just happens to agree with your existing political stance. This is, indeed, a teachable moment.
> Reports of racially motivated, fatal shootings by police officers have garnered extensive public attention and sparked activism across the nation. New research from Michigan State University and University of Maryland reveals findings that flip many of these reports on their heads – white police officers are not more likely to have shot minority citizens than non-white officers.
> “Until now, there’s never been a systematic, nationwide study to determine the characteristics of police involved in fatal officer-involved shootings,” said Joseph Cesario, co-author and professor of psychology at MSU. “There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support that black citizens are more likely to be shot by white officers."
First of all, none of this research purports to "flip [any] of these reports on their heads". The preceding disclaimer makes that explicit.
Second of all, the charge of racial bias in policing (and racial bias in police violence as a consequence) is not and has never been about the race of the police officer. So far as I'm aware, the race of the police officers is a focus mostly of white people, sometimes from a misguided assumption that black police won't produce similar results, but usually from a perspective intended to discredit the charge of racial bias. This article beginning from that assumption is a really bad sign.
The charge of racial bias in policing is institutional, structural, and historical. Policing in the US was created to reinforce racist social structures. People who are nominally targets of racism are capable of participating in and reinforcing the racist institutions and social structures which would target them, and there's a long history of that. The fact that people of color as cops reproduce the same outcome in no way discredits the claim that policing is racially biased.
> “Many people ask whether black or white citizens are more likely to be shot and why. We found that violent crime rates are the driving force behind fatal shootings,” Cesario said. “Our data show that the rate of crime by each racial group correlates with the likelihood of citizens from that racial group being shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of white people committing crimes, white people are more likely to be shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of black people committing crimes, black people are more likely to be shot. It is the best predictor we have of fatal police shootings.”
This cannot be supported by the data sources they attribute. The police are the subject of scrutiny and can't be relied on to accurately represent the "rate of crime" of their victims. Nearly 90% of entries in the Washington Post's database has no body camera data. The Guardian's database doesn't provide filtering by accused criminal activity, but a quick glance at a few entries shows descriptions straight out of police reports. The "rate of crime" claim is directly attributable to police, and to levels of policing.
This is obviously unreliable when scrutinizing the police. It bears mentioning, since the murder of George Floyd was a catalyst for recent protests and scrutiny, that the original police report was drastically different from what was actually filmed, and that an independent autopsy reached a drastically different conclusion from the official autopsy.