Police Shootings Decreasing

From the Daily Skimm:

What to say when you finally get that raise you asked for…

About time. A new report says there’s been a drop in the number of deadly police shootings of unarmed people. This issue has come to the spotlight in recent years because of people like Michael Brown, Walter Scott, and Stephon Clark – all black men who were unarmed when police shot and killed them. Back in 2015, police reportedly shot and killed 94 unarmed people. This year, that number reportedly dropped to 18 so far. And cases of unarmed black men specifically have gone down. Experts say it’s not clear what changed. But we need more years of data and shooting details to understand the trends. So yes, this report is a good sign…but this is still a problem.

I’ve had co-workers posting on Facebook about the lack of media attention when police are shot v.s. police shooting others.  The implication is that the cops were doing their job and shooting criminals.  I think we all have to ask what made them criminals.  What were they doing, if not actually committing a crime?  And, were they doing that while armed?  Non-violent criminals running away should not be shot in the back or otherwise subjected to undo force.  Simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time isn’t criminal … even if you do it while being black, Latino or male.  Making someone nervous, whether those people are wearing a uniform or not, isn’t criminal.  Being somewhere you aren’t expected to be, isn’t criminal.

The victims and the victim families have been speaking out against undo force by police across the country.  The media outlets have been covering them … sporadically.  What makes those incidents news?  They are egregious, involve celebrities, are corroborated by witnesses and captured by independent video and evidence … and news again when the police are subsequently acquitted despite overwhelming evidence.  We are a racist and xenophobic country.  Only confrontation forces us to examine and sometimes change those actions, policies and values.  Only individuals and organizations who use their celebrity, popularity and power to confront and spread those issues can influence and mainstream them.  Only going mainstream causes change.

The individuals who live under those biases and those confronting them can make the decision of how much and for how long to fight.  Hopefully, someone picks up where they leave off.  We all owe them that.