Police officers defend and serve their communities at the risk of their lives, sprinting into danger and endangering themselves despite the fact that the individuals they are safeguarding may be complete strangers.
Police undertake one of the few professions where its employees do not know whether they will go home at the end of the day, and it is a profession where its employees knowingly undertake the risk of dying a premature death. Even those who abhor the police are aware of these facts. Yet, what these dissidents do not understand is that every life has significance, regardless of your political beliefs or your preconceived notions about a person you’ve never met before.
Police officers are much like the rest of us; they grew up in the same neighborhoods as us, and they have spouses, children, friends, and relatives. They have their own perspectives, and in spite of the uniform they wear, even their most ardent detractors might agree with them on most issues. But for Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t matter; if someone dons a police uniform and pins a badge to their chest, they gain the label, “cop,” and they’re the enemy until the end.
The D.C. chapter of Black Lives Matter bemoaned the immediate labeling of wounded police officers as “heroes” without first evaluating what “the policeman did wrong” in “tearjerker” press conferences. In a subsequent tweet, expressing their outrage towards the killings of Black individuals by police officers, they stated “. . . being Black in DC is more dangerous than any job.”
This apples-to-oranges treatment of this matter is as wrong as it is despicable. Despite overwhelming evidence demonstrating that police are not hungry for blood from any race, fringe factions of the Democratic Party such as Black Lives Matter continue to believe that police are eager to shoot people—particularly people of color—rather than killing people only when they threaten deadly force against the police.
So, how exactly are these situations different? First and foremost, a civilian being killed and a police officer being killed are two very different scenarios. When a police officer is killed on duty, around half the time, the officer is responding to a threat, one which the great majority of people would likely flee from. In addition, the threats that they respond to when the officers are killed most often involve criminals with guns—44 out of 48 killings, with the remaining four having vehicles being used. Thus, officers are not being shot because they create the threat, they are being shot because they are responding to it.
Furthermore, officers in seven states, as well as officers in many big cities, are required to wear body cameras, which means that a record of their interactions with the individual they suspect of committing a crime is always preserved. Police vehicles are outfitted with cameras that record continuously, and shootings almost invariably result in an investigation. To put it another way, police officers are continuously scrutinized during every deadly engagement.
Finally, police officers are rigorously trained and held responsible for failing to adhere to particular criteria before, during, and after discharging their firearm; as a result, officers only shoot when they are threatened—and statistics indicate that they are generally justified in their assessment of the threats that they take action to terminate.
Knowing all this, is it difficult for a police officer to kill someone without justification? Yes, it is extremely difficult—that is why it rarely every happens, and that is why police are seldom convicted of murder or manslaughter.
Let’s take a closer look at the facts. Out of 13,000 fatal shootings between 2005 and 2019, 104 officers were charged with murder or manslaughter, with 35 being convicted, whether by trial or plea. This equates to 0.27% of all incidents involving police killings that result in a conviction. However, the publications and individuals who regurgitate these conviction statistics always fail to give regard to individual circumstances as well as the rules that shield police personnel from criminal prosecution, as well as the justifications for such regulations.
As for the circumstances, should an officer who discharges his firearm at a person shooting back at him be counted in statistics trying to prove that police are not held accountable for killing others?
As for the rules, should an officer not be allowed to discharge his firearm at a person who is firing back? How about if the criminal is firing at another person?
As for the justifications for the regulations, is it not good policy for police to be able to protect themselves when their lives are threatened throughout their entire shift?
When police officers have probable cause to believe that a person may use deadly force against them or another, they are legally entitled to use lethal force. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why so few police are convicted of murder or manslaughter: they’re trained to only fire when absolutely necessary—if that were untrue, or if police did not follow their training, we would see far more than 1,000 or so killings per year.
Looking at the ratio between total arrests and killings, approximately 10,085,000 arrests were made by police in 2019, while 1,096 were killed. These figures alone indicate that police will kill someone in 0.0108% of all arrests. While these numbers do not take into account cases that are clearly justified, such as officers being threatened at gunpoint, it goes without saying, if it were, this number would be substantially lower. After all, should police really not shoot at someone who shoots first?
But of course, let us not forget that those on the far left frequently decry shootings and claim that the alleged perpetrator was allegedly doing nothing wrong. If it were true that a person is always at risk of being shot by a police officer regardless of their wrongdoing, then we should look at total police encounters since, according to them, every person who encounters a police officer is at risk of being shot. Approximately 375,000,000 police encounters occurred in 2019, with that, the percentage of people who are killed by police drops staggeringly to approximately 0.00029% of all police encounters.
So, no, Black Lives Matter DC, police are not out to kill you, they’re here to help, that’s why we have “tearjerker” press conferences when they’re harmed.
Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is manager / sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. www.armstrongwilliams.co | www.howardstirkholdings.com