Law Enforcement

“Police Shoot Unarmed Man” We’ve Seen The Headlines, Now Look At The Numbers


Below are the statistics of fatal officer involved shootings according to a Washington Post study that began in 2015.

These statistics and this article serve as the foundation for topics I plan to discuss in the future.

Fatal police shootings, unarmed fatal police shootings, race as it relates to fatal police shootings, and lastly, the media’s coverage of such tragic events.

A highly contested topic, no doubt. But one I feel needs to be addressed, despite the expected backlash from trolls, anti-police haters, and career criminals, who will likely come out of the woodwork, to spew hate in a feeble attempt to feel better about themselves. That’s fine, their hate and how it plays into the cycle of violence in America will be discussed in a future article.

Here are the numbers broken down by year, race, and a second set of numbers focused ONLY on the unarmed fatal shootings:

Shooting Stats Photo

A few things to note regarding the unarmed shooting statistics.

The Washington Post does a great job of taking their data collection one step further when classifying these incidents. They track subcategories regarding unarmed shootings which are, “attack in progress” and “mental illness.”

These contributing factors alone do not justify the officer’s actions. That is NOT what I am suggesting. However, it helps explain why the incident took place and could justify the shooting.

For example, the unarmed statistics include people who were reported to have fought police, attempted to take their gun, or reached into their waistband or jacket. Though tragic, this could justify the officer’s actions in most cases.

I can already hear the haters.

“Fighting the police shouldn’t be a death sentence!”

I agree. I wish it never happened. I wish people never fought the police. I wish the police never had to shoot anyone. Wouldn’t that be a great society to live in?

Unfortunately, that is not reality.

This does not excuse officers who use deadly force unjustifiably. Nor does it negate people’s bad decisions to fight police, attempt to disarm police, or disobey commands and reach into their waistband. The police didn’t force them to make such horrible decisions, they simply reacted to it.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking suggests we are being rational and honest when assigning blame for what transpired. A difficult task in a country fueled on media headlines and emotion. Most people refuse to actually read an article or gather facts. Instead they opt to take a headline as gospel, good, bad, or otherwise.

Somehow it is lost on some people, if you don’t fight the police, you’ll likely be lumped into the 60+ million annual encounters between police and citizens where NOTHING bad happens. Yes, as of 2015, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 60+ million encounters occur annually between police and citizens every year.

Lastly, and most importantly, a narrative exists that suggests police shooting unarmed people has become an “epidemic” in America. The narrative suggests that the trend is increasing or worsening.

However, a quick review of these statistics collected by a third party, a presumably unbiased news source nonetheless, would suggest otherwise.

In fact, it appears to suggest the opposite, a downward trend since 2015 in unarmed shootings by police in America. Interesting to say the least.

Yet the new rhetoric and sentiment remain, “police are the enemy.”

More on this, the media, and related topics to come.

Be safe and thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door


5 replies »

  1. Im curious on how does the Washington Post have data from 2017 and 2018 when there’s a 2 year lag on the FBI and CDC releasing their factual reports? The most recent data available is 2016.

    • They track them as they happen as reported in the news, I imagine. Obviously it’s not the “FBI” but I don’t imagine they’re too far off on official statistics. How they classify something and the FBI may vary.

      Either way, the study is a good thing. I have plenty more to say, as I’m sure you do as well. But I’ll wait and put it in my articles.

      • Your article has merit as I stated. So according to these facts we can’t call it an epidemic. Even so I’m not sure how it’s looked upon as not a problem. It’s seems like collateral damage of sorts in the eyes of the police. “Look at how many contacts with the police there are and we only kill x amount of people.” And kill them steady across the board. Nobody in law enforcement or government seems to care. Could possibly less encounters with law enforcement cause the numbers to dwindle? If cops would suit up to “protect and serve” instead of generate revenue via encounters with civilians? What if they didn’t pull some one over for a blinker infraction and try and escalate it to a drug bust? That would probably have a profound effect on the number of people getting killed. We both know that’s not going to happen. It matters not to the family of the unarmed person the police murders whether due to factual statistics it can or can’t be called an epidemic. They don’t give a damn. Someone they love isn’t here any more and it could have been prevented. The only people that can change that are the ones who wear the badges. Innocent Civilians are targeted and killed. Far too many. One reason it remains steady is that police almost know for sure they won’t be indicted. If I civilian is charged with a crime it’s a sure thing you’ll be indicted. 99.9% certain. Yet a police officer charged with a crime and it’s the same 99.9% that they won’t be indicted. Go figure. When the job of policeman is safer than ever yet they feel more threatened than ever and trigger happy. Why? There is no war on cops. Why the war on civilians? I’m interested if you’ll use the same WP data to show that in fact there is no targeting of police as the narrative is being pushed. Like Gamaldi a few weeks ago when HPD murdered two people. He was quick to spout off about targets on their backs. Which is a blatant misinformed lie. The police were shot because they busted down someone front door and opened fire. If there’s a target there it’s put in place by the police. Nobody seeks out contact with the police. Your either for the situation getting better or your not. Right is right and you can call out the media for pushing a false narrative but remaining silent about the police and big government pushing their own false narrative is very telling.

      • Dear Mr Pipelyfe,

        My article has merit because it is based on facts, statistics, actual numbers and trends that can be observed through them. Trends exist and are factual. So I’m simply asserting that the “narrative” that police are killing people at a higher rate, especially unarmed black people in this country, is factually false and untrue. The trend suggests that the shootings are happening less frequently. This is a good thing. For everyone, including police. They don’t enjoy shooting people, I can assure you that. It causes a lot of stress and life altering issues. But who cares right? Police signed up for it. SMH

        As I expect from someone like yourself, you are not satisfied with this trend, so you pivot and make an emotional claim that it is still an epidemic and police are nothing but a revenue generating army, looking to kill with impunity. You couldn’t help yourself and throw out everyone’s favorite, “Protect and serve!!!” I call, you come, you do as I say, you lowly servant!!!!!!! LOL.

        Maybe you should focus your emotional arguments on the law makers. You know, the ones that actually decide that failing to use your blinker is illegal. Though I’m sure you’ve never almost rear ended someone that didn’t use their blinker and quickly slowed down to make a turn. A useless law, I agree.

        Regardless of the insignificance of a law, or as useless it may seem, police didn’t write it, they simply enforce it. That same oath that requires them to “protect and serve!!!!!!”

        You’re a smart guy. You know this, yet choose to do the typical Libertarian thing and suggest police are evil and an extension of the evil over reaching government.

        I have the solution you’re looking for and to some degree it has already happened. Some refer to it as the Ferguson effect. Yeah, it is a doozie. See basically police become firemen. They only show up if you call. They don’t initiate traffic stops, they don’t stop people for not using those pesky useless blinkers, they don’t search cars and find guns or drugs that could kill people. Nope. Too dangerous. They could get hurt, or worse, hurt someone else! So why take that chance? I sure wouldn’t. Not in today’s climate.

        If that’s the kind of police force you want. Fine. In fact, I’ll encourage it. It would likely result in fewer shootings between police and citizens. Though, I can’t be sure on how that would affect crime as a whole. Hmmm. Maybe try researching that. I’d suggest you start with Baltimore. You know the department that threw that kid in the paddy wagon and killed him for no reason?

        In regards to indictments, you again haven’t done your homework. There have been plenty officer sent to prison or indicted. Balch Springs PD in Texas recently sent an officer to prison. Chicago PD officer, sent to prison. I believe at one time there were 5 police officers under indictment in the Dallas, Texas area. But again, the media isn’t as continuous or persistent with such coverage. It’s out there, you just have to actually be looking and see the truth. Accountability is happening.

        Lastly, I’ll respond to you, like you have to me with your long list of YouTube videos about people who were shot by police.
        In response, please see this list of officers who were GUNNED DOWN DOING NOTHING. NO ENFORCEMENT ACTION AT ALL, since 2014. I may have missed some.

        While you suggest there’s “no war on police”. The media is complicit in radicalizing people into thinking police actively go looking to kill people yet you find it completely convenient to overlook these names and the real REASON they are dead. They too have families. They didn’t sign up to die. They were minding their own business and killed in cold blood. Find me a scenario where an officer straight up guns someone down without provocation, while they’re eating lunch, or writing a report. Good luck.

        Farrah Turner – Florence South Carolina
        Terrance Carraway – Florence South Carolina
        Miotosis Familia – NYPD
        Lorne Ahrens – Dallas PD
        Patrick Zamirrippa – Dallas PD
        Michael Krol – Dallas PD
        Michael Smith – Dallas PD
        Brent Thompson – Dart PD
        Natalie Corona – Davis PD
        Wenjian Liu – NYPD
        Rafael Ramos – NYPD
        Bryon Dickson – Pennsylvania Trooper
        Alyn Beck – LVMPD
        Igor Soldo – LVMPD
        Justin Martin – Des Moines PD
        Anthony Beminio – Des Moines PD

        I have more articles coming. They highlight the bias in how the media reports shootings with inflammatory headlines. I’m sure you’ll enjoy those as well. Stay tuned and be safe!

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