Shaun King / Daily Kos & Mark Berman / The Washington Post – 2015-09-20 01:19:01
There Is No ‘War on Cops’ but Police Are Being Trained to Be Paranoid
Shaun King / Daily Kos
(September 14, 2015) — An Iraq war veteran just published a guest editorial for The Daily Beast under an assumed name. It’s a powerful, must-read piece.
Having served as a military police officer in Iraq and elsewhere, the veteran, writing as “Clayton Jenkins,” is currently enrolled in a rural red state police academy. It was there that he immediately experienced the barrage of lies about the fictional war on police taking place in the United States. Clayton writes:
The War on Cops is a grossly inaccurate response to recent police killings which are on track for another year that will rival the safest on record. Gunfire deaths by police officers are down 27 percent this year, according to the Officer Down memorial page, and police killings in general are at a 20-year low, given current numbers for 2015. Police deaths in Barack Obama’s presidency are lower than the past four administrations, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
It’s deeply troubling when police ignore facts and present propaganda as truth. If they will do it here, what’s to stop them from ignoring facts and presenting false evidence elsewhere?
Every police killing, like all violence, is unfortunate. It doesn’t make it a war, or new, or part of some dramatic uptick. The number of police officers shot and killed on the job is now down 87 percent from its all-time high.
Clayton went on to ask:
“What are they telling us in a post-Michael Brown academy? The culture of police brutality is infrequently addressed, but what is continually mentioned is the notion that there is a War on Police.”
We must investigate and ask ourselves: Why are police spreading this misinformation? What are they getting out of doing this? Who does it benefit, and how?
Whatever the answers, it’s disturbing and dangerous.
More on this police academy’s false narrative below.
My Police Academy Teaches the ‘War on Cops’ Myth
Clayton Jenkings / The Daily Beast
(September 14, 2015) — In my rural red state police academy, instructors preach about ‘officers dying left and right’ — even though the numbers show this isn’t happening.
The trumpets of the thin blue line and right-wing news sources have been sounding, piping out warnings of a “War on Police.” You may have heard it on talk radio, seen it on Fox News or even read it in the New York Post but now the rhetoric of charlatans has reached me in class at my police academy in a Northern red state.
The War on Cops is a grossly inaccurate response to recent police killings, which are on track for another year that will rival the safest on record. Gunfire deaths by police officers are down 27 percent this year, according to the Officer Down memorial page, and police killings in general are at a 20-year low, given current numbers for 2015.
Police deaths in Barack Obama’s presidency are lower than the past four administrations, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
Not a single iota of evidence supports a War on Police, but it has become a battle cry among some in the academy.
Over 80 percent of police departments in the United States are facing issues with low recruitment numbers. As an Iraq War veteran I sought to solidify my chance of employment working in law enforcement by attending a local police academy. I enjoyed serving my country as military police and will do such now as a sworn police officer back home.
What are they telling us in a post-Michael Brown academy? The culture of police brutality is infrequently addressed, but what is continually mentioned is the notion that there is a War on Police. By whom? Depends on whom you ask.
Some instructors blame the Obama administration, which has provided extra funding to police departments to hire Iraq War veterans such as myself. Others, citing news organizations and politicians, try to pin it on the Black Lives Matter movement.
How are they attempting to substantiate this? By highlighting a few high-profile police killings in the past few months, especially the tragic, execution-style death of a Texas sheriff at a gas station. Many activists tried to tie the accused murderer, Shannon Miles, to the Black Lives Matter movement in the immediate aftermath as a motive. He had no ties to the movement.
Miles, however, had been previously declared mentally incompetent.
“The Obama administration and Eric Holder are undermining the police. We have officers dying left and right and he’s dicking off in Alaska,” says one of my instructors, referring to the president’s trip to Alaska last week.
Our instructor is likely trying to warn us to take heed of the dangers of the job, and not expect to be thanked by politicians for doing it. But he has made the government and the people we’re meant to serve out to be boogeymen in the process.
Bad guys have been shooting cops for years, but this is neither a new nor growing phenomenon. A whole generation has grown up knowing the phrase “fuck the police” as a song lyric, a response to the mass incarceration culture spawned from a War on Drugs that numbers show disproportionately and unfairly targets black Americans.
I understand as a law enforcement professional — and as someone capable of fairly reading mountains of data — that the Drug War has been unfairly used as a tool of oppression against the black community. It is why the American public overall has shown they have less confidence in police in recent times.
But there is no War on Police. This Us vs. Them mentality still prevails even in fresh academy cadets. Perhaps some of these people will become future jackbooted, truncheon-wielding oppressors. Or perhaps they will encounter the reality that betrays the fear they are taught.
Clayton Jenkins, who is writing under a pseudonym, is an Iraq War veteran training to become a police officer.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Off duty cops shot 700 this year
On-duty police officers have shot and killed more than 700 people this year
Wesley Lowery / The Washington Post
(September 17, 2015) — The tally of people shot and killed by on-duty police officers passed 700 on Wednesday night — a fatal milestone that is almost double the highest number of police shootings ever reported by the FBI for an entire year — according to a Washington Post database tracking all shootings death at the hands of police this year.
The 700th fatal police shooting of the year occurred Tuesday afternoon when officers in Los Angeles shot and killed 32-year-old Florencio Chaidez, who they say was armed with a gun. Officers had gotten a call about someone disturbing the peace, and they say that when they arrived they discovered Chaidez, who matched the description of the man they were looking for.
Officers say the man then produced a gun, however they have released few details and have not released body camera footage.
As of Thursday morning,The Post has tracked 703 fatal police shootings. (Read more about the methodology here.)
Of the 703 people who have been shot and killed by officers in 2015, the vast majority have been armed with either a gun or other potentially-deadly weapon. At least 65 of those shot and killed were unarmed.
Federal data on police shootings is notoriously inaccurate and incomplete — in large part because the data they collect is voluntarily reported, and most police departments do not participate. The FBI has never recorded more than 460 fatal police shootings in any year going back to at least 1976. The Post, relying on public documents, local news coverage and original reporting had confirmed 463 such shootings in just the first six months of the year.
Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.
Fewer Police Officers Shot and Killed
Over First Half of 2015 than 2014
Mark Berman / The Washington Post
(June 30, 2015) — When Sonny Kim was growing up, there was little doubt about what career he would eventually choose.
â€œGrowing up with Sonny, I grew up with a police officer,â€ Mickey Kim, his brother, said at his funeral last week in Cincinnati. â€œHe became a police officer when he was 21, but he was always a police officer.â€
Kim did not come from a family of police officers, his brother said. But while other children — Mickey included — grew up dreaming of becoming an astronaut or playing baseball, Sonny Kim had â€œtunnel visionâ€ of wanting to be a police officer, his brother recalled.
â€œHe was so proud to wear that uniform,â€ Mickey Kim said. â€œHe was so proud to be a part of that fraternity.â€
Kim, 48, an officer with the Cincinnati Police Department, was shot and killed June 19 in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect who had called 911 to summon officers, according to police officials.
He was one of 16 police officers shot and killed in the line of duty by a suspect over the first six months of the year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit organization that tracks all line-of-duty fatalities.
A day after Kim was killed, Daryle Holloway, 45, a New Orleans police officer, was shot and killed while driving someone to a city jail. Police identified the person being transported as Travis Boys, 33, and authorities said he managed to shoot Holloway during the trip. Boys was arrested after a two-day manhunt.
Holloway is the most recent officer killed this year. The number of officers shot and killed by suspects over the first half of 2015 is down from the 23 officers killed over the same period last year, according to records kept by the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Some, like Kim, were shot and killed while responding to 911 calls. Terence Green, a Fulton County, Ga., police detective and the first officer to be fatally shot this year, was searching a neighborhood after a report of gunfire March 4, police say, when Amanuel Menghesha shot him.
Others were serving arrest warrants when the suspect in question opened fire. Kerrie Orozco, an Omaha police officer, was shot and killed while she and other officers were serving an arrest warrant in a different shooting. Orozco, 29, was hours away from beginning maternity leave when she was killed.
Overall, though, statistics suggest that being a police officer has gotten much safer over the past few decades. While the FBI reported this year that the number of officers killed in the line of duty nearly doubled last year over the year before — rising to 51 — that number still dramatically falls below what the country saw in previous decades.
About 50 police officers have been fatally shot on average each year over the past decade, and that number has fallen by more than half since the 1970s, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. In addition, federal statistics show that the uptick in 2014 came after a year with the fewest officers killed in the line of duty (27) in any year since 1980.
Still, interviews this year with current and retired law enforcement officers, as well as their family members, show that the sustained protests over deaths at the hands of police have left many officers feeling assailed.
â€œIf you imagine someone with a cellphone recording every moment . . . itâ€™s tough,â€ said Don Costa, 58, who spent two decades as a detective in Waterbury, Conn. â€œAre you going to make that one slip? Itâ€™s very difficult.â€
Some officers pointed to the rise in ambush attacks — like the two Las Vegas police officers gunned down while eating lunch last year — as a particularly worrisome trend. Others pointed to the dangers they may be called to without realizing it.
Kim was killed after responding to reports of a person with a gun acting erratically in the cityâ€™s Madisonville neighborhood, the police department said. Both Kim and the suspect were shot and taken to a nearby hospital, and they both later died.
Police later identified the suspect as Trepierre Hummons, 21, and said that Hummons had been the person to call 911 multiple times. Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said that based on social media and text messages, it looked like Hummons â€œwas planning suicide by cop,â€ making him one of the 123 people shot and killed so far this year during what appeared to be a mental or emotional crisis.
â€œHe had a loving heart, so I just donâ€™t understand how this happened,â€ Hummonsâ€™s father wrote in an op-ed published by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
With the dangers police still face, even with fewer deaths, the overall protest movement focusing so much on deaths at the hands of police creates â€œa sad situation,â€ said Sgt. Ron Hart, an officer at Ithaca College.
â€œItâ€™s in the back of your mind,â€ Hart said, noting that police often encounter people during a bad time in their lives. â€œBut you canâ€™t dwell on that kind of thing.â€
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.