Not Everything You Read About The Police Is True

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I’m not a historian, professor, politician or reporter. I am a middle-aged (ugh), white female whose family contains 3 police officers by marriage. What I am about to say may have no merit to you, but it does to me. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I have yet to see one article this week in support of law enforcement. I did find this from March – In Defense of the Police – but nothing recent. There may be articles out there, but they are buried beneath the hatred and accusations.

I’ve seen a lot of In Defense of Black Rage, Militarization of America’s Police and Why We Hate the Police. Okay, I made the last one up, but it sure feels like I read a lot of articles with that title.

By now, you’ve heard about the unrest in Ferguson, MO, the racial accusations and the disregard police have for the general populace. Behind the emotion, there has to be reason and facts, we just haven’t seen them yet. I’d like you to put aside this week’s incident and think about things in a different way, if you are willing to take a step back.

Please note, I do not claim these statistics to be 100% correct, they are estimates based on data I was able to find. This data is related to excessive force only, not other types of complaints.

Police Brutality

In 2010, 1,242 officers were involved in excessive force complaints – .14% of a 900,000 member police force. .14% Even if these figures were 10 times higher, we would still be looking at 1.4% of the police force. 100 times higher? 14%. To hear the news and negative public opinion, you’d think it were closer to 50%, wouldn’t you? It’s not as rampant as you think. Crime rates per 100,000 police officers are significantly less than the non-police citizens. Additionally, incidents of violence of a police officer are also lower than those of the average citizen. Again, the media would lead us to believe otherwise.

In the same year, ~7% of excessive force allegations have ended in death, ~92. Conversely, 105 police officers were killed in the line of duty, 30 as a direct result of gunfire. I couldn’t find any statistics for injuries on duty, as a matter of fact statistics on police brutality are something new. Historically, record keeping of both excessive force by and toward a police officer has not been something that can be agreed upon, much less collected accurately. (Source: CATO Institute

Militarization of the Police

Did you know that in the US, there are ~245 police officers per 100,000 people? There are at least 43 more countries in the world whose police to citizen ratio is higher than ours. If the American citizens decided to revolt against police, the police would surely lose. Not only would they be outnumbered, they would be outgunned as more than 1/3 of all Americans own guns. For every 245 police officers, there are 30,000 armed citizens. Whether or not they choose to use those guns against the police is up for debate.

If you take into account the type of weaponry available to criminals, it would make sense that you would want your law enforcement to have access to the same, or more effective, weapons. Ask yourself, are the police arming themselves because they think it’s fun? Or are they arming themselves because they must do so to stand a chance against the citizen that blows their head off at a traffic stop and the person with an automatic weapon shooting up your mall? Do you want them to carry a pistol when you are being shot at by someone with an automatic weapon?

Race

Police are accused of racial profiling on a regular basis. In some instances, it is true. Let me make something clear – the police do not cause poverty, they did not enact slavery back in the day, and they do not make you commit crime. If you commit a crime, no matter your color, you should be arrested. So, if you commit a crime and you get arrested – please stop complaining.

If you are a victim of racial profiling, I am sorry for you and we do need to work a lot harder to eliminate stereotypes. There are race issues, for sure. But feeding into them and using them as tools and crutches is also not acceptable. The problem I have with race is that it isn’t applied fairly. Earlier this year, Officer Kevin Dorian Jordan – who was black – was shot in the back 3 times and killed by white men. There was no outrage, no racial accusations, there was apathy. His status as a police officer negated his color, that tells me that there is more at play than race.

Media Coverage

For every ‘bad’ deed committed by an officer in uniform, there are thousands of good deeds to counter them. But they don’t make the news, or not as often as they should. After all, do we really want to read one more ‘Cop Saved a Life’ or ‘Cop Plays Basketball With Kids’ story? B-O-R-I-N-G. That doesn’t sell, invoke discussion or elicit emotion. What sells emotionally, politically and financially is discord, anger and disparity. Those things rile Americans into action, regardless of whether or not the action is destructive. 

We all know the media speaks before it thinks, it places blame and it does not tell the whole story. Police are not without fault and blame, there are many instances where their actions are questionable – some even illegal. We aren’t given the opportunity to see the entire picture before we react. What is more inflammatory in today’s world than ‘Police Shoot Unarmed Wholesome Black Teen’? Nothing, and the media should know better, but they don’t care.

Civil Liberties

We do not hesitate to throw good money after bad into the world. We send our soldiers around the globe to be the world police. We exert our muscle on other people daily. Heaven forbid we do it on our own soil. Someone cries foul. The police are treading on their civil liberties. But whose civil liberties are you treading on when the police try to stop you? It’s a fine line between enforcing the law and protecting your rights, and it gets more difficult each day.

Racial Disparity in the Police Force

We all know that there are more white officers than black on the Ferguson police department. We know that the police department is not a racial representation of the community. Why not? Why haven’t more black people gone to the academy and become police officers? I don’t know. The test is the same for everyone, no one gets extra points for being white. I’m sure there is a reason, but I don’t know it.

Recently, I asked a young black male who complained about ‘white police’ why he didn’t become a police officer. His answer? “Who wants to be a pig? I sure don’t and I am a law-abiding citizen.” I don’t believe his response is representative of the young, black male population but it makes a point. No one wants to be a cop. It’s not a popular profession.

 Upbringing

Let’s face it, we are taught to fear the police. Period. How many Moms tell their kids they will get arrested if they don’t behave? How many parents who have had bad experiences with police pass that on? I could go on forever. I’ll be honest with you, I am not 100% free of racial bias. I am also not 100% free of fear from the police. I can’t help it. When I see a police car behind me, I get scared. If I get pulled over, I pray I am not sent to solitary. Why? I don’t know. But I learned it somewhere, I wasn’t born with an unnatural fear of flashing blue lights and people in positions of authority. We are sending that message of fear loudly and clearly across the country with headlines on a regular basis. When it comes to the police, we don’t honor the fallen as much as we denigrate the standing. This is passed on from generation to generation.

We can’t take away the human factor of the job. People fear the police. Guess what? The police also have fear – every time they put on the uniform. Every time they see another officer shot at, hit by a car, or beaten. Yes, they get beaten while working. They are humans, nothing more or less. They have fear and bias, they also have love and humor. Each position holds its own hazards, the police are in the unfortunate position of interacting in ways which sometimes require force.

A police officer can take a life as easily as another citizen. More people are killed by civilians each year than by police. Think about that. If the police were truly abusing their power, wouldn’t there be more casualties?

The relationship the public has with the police is a complicated and emotional one, but I truly believe it goes much deeper than race. I’m not sure what lessons will come out of Ferguson, but I hope that they are used to close the gap between the general public and the American police force. It’s time we started working together, not against each other.

For a great perspective, and facts, check out Bill O’Reilly.

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Comments

  1. Shannon says

    Thank you for this post. I was in tears today, reading all over social media, the hate for law enforcement. My husband is hated the minute he puts on the uniform. Nobody sees the man in the uniform, the one who has tea parties in a pink tutu with his 4 year old daughter. They don’t see the man sitting at a child’s table playing with his 6 year old boy, acting like a kid himself. He gets spit on, yelled at, hit, bit, screamed at, all because he’s a cop paid to enforce the law.

    He works some of the worst streets in Dallas. Gets calls to go help someone whos husband has beat the snot out of her, in front of the kids. Goes to arrest him and suddenly my husband is the bad guy, not the one who blackened your eyes or knocked out your teeth, but the man, who does not know you, but is there to help you.

    He works 24/7. On his off days he’s still a cop. He never gets a break from that. If he happens to get off early enough, he will take the kids to school. Well if he’s in uniform, people make it a point to avoid him. My son is the “pigs” kid. Yes, I’ve heard parents say that about my 6 and 4 year old children. Let’s put labels on them why don’t we?

    This week has been especially hard. Seeing the news day in and day out of nothing but negitive feeds. Not just on TV, but social media. It consumes everything. That officer is guilty because the media has made him guilty. That precious snowflAke and his friend attacked the officer and tried to take his weapon. They say they were just walking down the street. Well in the city I live in, there are sidewalks to walk down. The officer may have got out to ask them to get out of the street so they won’t get hit or cause an accident. One probably got lippy and it escalated. Not at he fault of the officer, but at the fault of the two walking down the road. I was not there, but have heard many a story of my husband encounters with people.

    If someone tried to attack him and take his weapon, guess what? My husband will be going home at the end of his shift. There is no respect for authority at all anymore. These people were raised to hate and not respect anyone, especially the police.

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve been a wreck all week, afraid that the violence will spill over in other areas outside of Missouri. I watch my husband leave for work, and see a target on him the minute he puts on that uniform. A lot see a “pig” but I see a great husband and the worlds best father., out trying to make a safer city so you and I and our neighbors can sleep a little better.

    • says

      Oh Shannon, I am so sorry you are having such a rough week and glad this gave you a little support. I really hope things settle down for everyone soon. It’s such a terrible situation and there seems to be no end in sight.

  2. Kat says

    I agree with your remarks, it is hard to hear the hate that is spewed towards those who protect and serve. Yet when a crime occurs, it is often the same group that says they are “not doing enough” , or are “racists” for locking people who commit crimes up. The cops do not go out looking for people to lock up, they have enough on their plates. My husband is the meanest looking guy out there, yet he would spend days out looking for a criminal who hurt a child, and forego time with his own children to see the killer arrested. The same man who changed diapers and refused to have a sitter while I worked, so he could sleep, so his kids would know him and spend time with him, even though it meant he was sleepy the next shift.

  3. says

    As a former, retired cop’s kid, it’s amazing how people feel about the police. My dad was a cop in the late 60’s through the mid-80’s. He was known as a pig. Instead of him letting that define him in a negative way, he embraced it. PIG – Pride, Integrity, Guts! He had that belt buckle. He had a yellow pig tie-tack; still does, as a matter of fact. He’s not ashamed. But so true what Shannon said. Domestic calls are the most dangerous. Yes, he’s had guns pointed at him when he answered someone’s cry for help.

    He was injured too. Dragged 100 feet down the road while directing traffic. He was out of work for a year. He suffers at age 70 with the uncontrolled pain from that injury that happened when he was not even 30 years old. Pain management, therapy, spinal shots and he gets no relief. He will have no relief for the rest of his life! He got very little compensation for that injury. Pennies, if you want to know the truth.

    My dad was a fair cop. Just ask the guy in a Florida prison who recognized him decades after my father arrested him in Connecticut! He thanked my dad was treating him fairly. Were there jerks on that little affluent town’s police force? Sure! Less than a handful, to my knowledge. Most were and continue to be wonderful men who uphold the law they were sworn to defend.

    As my husband says, there are 3 sides to every story. Yours, theirs, and the truth. We’ll probably never completely know the truth. And if we do, there will be people that will never believe it anyway.

    • says

      You hit it right on. In my state there has been so make suicides in the last few weeks that they are becoming unbelievable.
      These people are killing themselves as they see the police arrive. The officers dont even have a chance to get out of the vehicles when they hear the shots. That would seem easy to understand who killed whom, right? Wrong! The officers are still being blame for suicides,,,If the officer that arrived at the scene has different color of skin, somehow the death is connected to him,, unfortunately as hard as they work and as dangerous as their job is, no one other then their immediate family cares.

      The public has become Judge and jury to the officers. At the same time they form riots and steal. As if that wasnt enough they always fall back to the “racial line”.

      Matthew 7:5
      “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      • says

        Hi Maria, thanks for coming by to read this! I really wish I knew the easy answer to why the police are looked upon so poorly and blamed for everything. All we can do is be supportive of those we love and try to understand those whose ideas are different than our and try to meet in the middle. I agree that no one other than their immediate families care and it’s a terrible shame.

    • says

      Great story Sandy and your father sounds wonderful! The kids were out playing one day and a kid in his early 20’s came up the drive and asked my husband if he was a cop. He said no – he was nervous for our kids safety of course because a stranger is walking up asking if he’s a cop. The young man then said that he thought he was the cop that was really kind to him when he was in his early teens and the cop walked to foot beat. The young man wanted to say thanks. It’s sad that when someone approaches our home and recognizes him, we are afraid for our safety. But it was so nice to know that my husband made such an impression on this one young man.

  4. Kirk Tindel says

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but your data is so very, very far from correct. You’ve taken the actual numbers and shrunk them by a margin of over 100 to 1!

    Please, prove me wrong. Cite ANY source that backs up this data or these statistics.

    • Karen says

      As noted in the post, this is for excessive force only, NOT other instances of police misconduct. As also stated, it is incredibly difficult to find a site that has unbiased, or verifiable statistics. Also, it is important to note that while some cities may have a much higher excessive force rate, these numbers represent the entire nation. Once you spread is out across our entire police force, the number is obviously smaller that of the LAPD or another police force that has a lot of complaints. Overall, our police force not as violent as the media wants us to believe. Because of the lack of verifiable information, my primary source for this data was http://www.policemisconduct.net.

      While http://www.sloshspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Police-Brutality-Statistics.png reports 1 in 116 officers accused of misconduct, 21% of that is reported as excessive force. The number is still less than 2%.

      Although there are many studies out there like this one – http://web.missouri.edu/~jlfm89/Race%20Perceptions%20of%20Police%20Misconduct.pdf – they are based on PERCEPTION and not factual data.

      The American Free Press would have us believe that police brutality is a common occurence – http://americanfreepress.net/?p=13409 – yet they cite no statistics.

      This site quotes nearly 900 deaths by “misconduct” but doesn’t specify what type – http://www.justiceforjordanmiles.com/about-the-campaign/national-police-brutality-statistics/. Is it excessive force? Incarceration of an innocent man? Again, I am specifically targeting excessive force.

      Here is a great article http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/08/15/3796849/mary-sanchez-is-police-brutality.html – I found this today and it basically says what I am trying, in a briefer format :)

      Even if my statistics are off by a margin of 100 to 1, it still would show that less than 15% of all officers across the country engage in excessive force behavior and proves that media perception plays a large role. I could remove the 2 paragraphs about police brutality and the article could still stand. Our culture, in addition to racism, is one of inflammation when it comes to our police force.

      If you have a credible source of national data, I would love to have it and will happily correct these numbers. Thank you!!

      • Chuck says

        The reason the poster will not tell you their sources to contradict your research is because the poster is representing that they know the actual numbers, but would have sourced is as you did had they actually had such data. The truth is the poster did have not factual sources outside of personal feelings. In your well thought out and articulated article, you did not even address that a percentage of these excessive force complaints are not even valid complaints and just took them for the numbers of ALLEGATIONS made. Just because someone says someone else did something wrong, means little in a world where false allegations are so commonplace. Your article is the only one I have found in a while that attempts to shed light on a ever growing problem with this country. Some day, no good man/woman will be willing to put on the uniform and risk so much for such an apathetic society. Thank you for your efforts in this article.

  5. Courtney says

    Thank you so much for writing this, Karen. I have also been so upset by everything I have read and heard this week. My boyfriend of 16 years is a police officer, and I am so proud of him. I know what an honorable and upstanding officer he is, but too many people only see the badge and judge him based on their misconceptions and prejudices. It breaks my heart.

    • Karen says

      Hi Courtney, just know you are not alone. If you ever need support, please feel free to check out policewives.org or wivesbehindthebadge.org. Have a safe night!

  6. Tammy Cannucci says

    Absolutely love ur article. Now if only closed minded government hating individuals would open their minds we may eventually live all as one or closer to it. Ty for tgis article. Saving and sharing anywhere i can! From a prior police officer as well wife of a once retired officer to him currently working as a deputy again, TY!

  7. Jane Thatcher says

    I found you blog a really interesting read, I live in the UK and although we don’t have the same gun crime here or as many Officers killed in the line of duty (for that we are grateful) there were many points that you brought up that translate over the water. I totally agree the media pick up on the bad more frequently than the good work or arrests done, which I do find annoying, we are experiencing this at present, the media are dragging up stories from over 20 years ago to put the Police in a bad light, when many who were involved are not in the service now and also procedures etc. were so different then to today, as each time something bad happens procedures are looked at and change. Also as you rightly demonstrated one bad apple does make the whole bunch bad. I with some other people where fed up with the negative press that we start a twitter account and facebook page to share the feel good stories of the police, and the good results, to say people aren’t interested in this sort of thing, I am please to say they are. Thank you for this excellent blog,

  8. Garrett says

    Spot on, great article! Yours is surely blowing up and being shared across Facebook ; I’m sharing it next. One thing I want to put out there that I would love to see in an article that’s going mainstream like yours is:

    I’m SOO sick of seeing idiotic comments like “the only good pig is a dead pig” , “I wish there were no police”, and “do away with the police”.

    REALLY? !

    LET’S THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A SECOND

    Do these MORONS really feel this way?
    I think the majority really do, and it absolutely astonishes me. It’s mind blowing cause these POS’s wouldn’t even be alive anymore. I can’t comprehend what kinds of absolute scum think that they wouldn’t be killed by their buddy POS’ s the MINUTE the presence of police was non existent. They’d be off’d for no reason at all, yet they wish the above was the case.

    I’ve now given myself a headache by the brainless responses I’ve seen on the news article websites, and will end my rant there. I just hope my concept makes it on someones article like yours, cause I really crave the responses I will read.

    Thanks again!

  9. Mike says

    I Agree with Kirk and believe your numbers must be supplied by the police themselves. If the numbers are so low why don’t you see “good”cops arresting these guys every day? It is the entire system that creates the “bad” ones and protects them when they mess up. How many assaults don’t get reported as such, because the people don’t have a real lawyer or any sense of the legal system? How are these numbers correct when 531 innocent people have been murdered in LA alone since 2000? No the cops are not our friends, and they have no interest in our security or our safety. I see that most of the uninformed people agreeing with you are family members of cops and such, so I understand the need to delude yourselves that what we are seeing in Missouri is OK, but it is not. FORCE every officer to wear a live feed video camera and see the truth. Police who have forced their officers to wear cameras have had complaints drop by 88% and use of force drop by 60%. Not just reported misuse of force, but use of force all together. Badges do not grant extra rights, and we need to put an end to the violence and murder committed by the people WE pay to protect us.

    • Karen says

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your reply and I am sorry you don’t feel like police do anything right. You are free to become a police officer, help enact legislation or help them change their images if you feel so passionately about the topic. Again, there is no good data. I am only giving what I could find. I also stated, and will state again, even if I took the stats out, there is more at play to the public perception than just brutality statistics.

      I don’t believe I claimed anywhere in this article that police have “extra rights” or that what is occuring in MO is “OK”. I am simply showing the inflammatory nature about OUR perceptions of police – yours and mine. Perhaps you missed the part where I stated that I too am afraid when I am pulled over?

      Finally, you stated 531 innocent people have been ‘murdered’ in LA since 2000, I am assuming meant by the police. You are saying 40 “innocent” people are killed in LA each year by police, please cite your source so I can include it.

      Thank you!

    • Joseph Perez says

      That is because when to cops have cameras on them. The people can’t make up false lies on the police. Now I know this isn’t always true. But as you see in the news, kids lie and so do witnesses.

  10. Bill Ruesch says

    I too have family, two uncles and a brother-in-law who are police officers. I care about them and their safety, but I am not naive. Many of your points Karen, are right on, but some are a stretch. Like when you said that criminals have more sophisticated weapons that must be countered by police armories. Really? How many criminals have access to tanks? To be believable you have to use reasonable arguments. The statistic you quoted about police brutality is another example. There are many more people who experience brutality than those willing to step forward and report it. I sincerely doubt a .14% number and so should any thinking person.

    The police carry a chip on their shoulders. Maybe it is necessary so they are aware of any and every danger they might encounter, but there are those who use their uniform to bully. I’ve experienced it and I’ll bet that pretty much anyone who has lived a while has encountered it. Yes, I have a fear of the police because when they are on task they can easily give into their baser instincts. They need to couple their own fear with clear thinking to keep them from unloading on an unarmed teenager whose only crime appears to be jaywalking. I am an older, while male, and because of that I’m not a likely target. Thank god. But if I was an unemployed young black male in an inner city I would have to assume that there was a target on my back.

    • Karen says

      Thanks Bill, I didn’t mention tanks, I am saying weaponry in general. Do we simply let the police use handguns while others have automated rifles? My argument is general and reasonable, in my opinion. Again, I conceded that if I were off by 100%, it still raises the number to 14%, not the 50-80% people seem to believe. If you have any stats, I would love to use them so that I can be more accurate.

      As for the chip, some do, some don’t. But they are human, and while we sit on the sidelines and judge, they go to work and are judged. It’s a complicated position and unless you are in that position, you can’t possibly know what it’s like. I think blanket statements about the police being bad and that all black men in the inner city have a target on their backs are very dangerous and feed the fear. We teach fear each and every generation. Fear breeds other actions, the police are afraid and the civilians are afraid. How do we bridge that gap?

  11. says

    Thank for taking the time to voice the unpopular opinion. I am the wife of an officer, and there are many people I would like to read this article. You have so many good arguments that need to be included in the current discussion. However, I would like to ask you to please not discredit one of your best arguments (the statistcs) with a disclaimer that it may not be 100% accurate. I am afraid that it negates your entire article. I wonder that if someone came here with a different opinion, the admittance of possible bad information would be all they need to disregard everything you say, all the wonderful things you express that are true. Or worse, they would stop reading the article at that point completely. I respectfully ask rather than giving people a reason to discredit this side of the argument that you research more, get the best facts and statistics you possibly can. Then, if you still want to be free from any accidental misrepresentation, put a disclaimer that you have researched this to the best of your ability and are confident in the accuracy. However, if anyone finds discrepancies to notify and you will correct them. I know its a lot to ask, it takes a lot of time, but there are so few voices out there speaking for the officers and their families, I think you would agree that the unpopular voice must be stronger, and more convincing to be heard above the roaring anger and hatred aimed at the police. Thanks again for your article.

  12. Frannie says

    I agree, the police are wonderful. It’s the nitwits Like Sharpton, and the other agitators. Every cop killer is always such a good kid. Wake up America. They use any excuse to loot and destroy or kill someone. Nothing much said when an officer is shot or worse killed while doing there job. They kill more of there own kind in cities like Detroit and Chicago, why is not in the press. Don’t any of these people that are out there day and night have a job?

    • Karen says

      Hi Frannie, Thanks for you support. I am hoping you are more tolerant than your comment seems. Using “They kill more of their own kind…” is something that feeds into the hatred of people that are different than us. I am sure the people that have jobs aren’t the criminals. We need to remember that many of the people now being arrested may not be the most upstanding citizens.

  13. Robin "Bats" says

    I feel I must comment on this, though I rarely do make comments on blogs. My brother works in one of 15th largest cities in America as an officer. In the small town I grew up in, there was one cop everyone hated. Because he was a dick. Not every cop is good, nor is every human, but he was a complete dick. But he was never wrong. He may have gone for the full extent, but it was against we crazy teens and pre-teens who HAD done something illegal. My brother is one of the most decent souls I have ever known; while I was the wild crazy party boy. We were at first ashamed of him and I wasn’t the Black Sheep for once. Then we realized: My mother wasn’t ashamed; she was scared some random [insert expletive here] would shoot him for doing his job, and I was ashamed that I didn’t have the balls to be an honest cop who was willing to die and leave behind a family to protect a stranger. Alot of people misconstrue “brutality” for “coming home safe”. It’s about NOT taking chances. I have a concealed handgun license, and if someone rushed me, I would fire without blinking once. He has a child. A wife. He goes every day to make sure your loved ones aren’t hurt even if his watch ends. The simple truth is: Make sure EVERYONE goes Home safe. The Watchmen watch themselves. If you feel differently, why the f*&^ are you here?

    • Karen says

      I agree, if a police officer doesn’t believe that EVERYONE should go home safe, he doesn’t belong on the job. Thanks for your comment and thanks to your brother for being one of the good guys.

  14. Judy Hall says

    As the wife of an officer of 22 years, I want to thank you for taking an HONEST look at this. People truly have no clue what day to day life is like for an officer. One example is that if you work in a plant or restaurant or retail store or an office, you go in, work your shift, and when you clock out, you are OFF DUTY. A police officer is NEVER off duty! Even on vacation or when he has been with me while I’m having surgery, he is still getting calls and doing his job. Imagine the stress placed on officers, and their families because of this! Again, thank you. And God bless your family members and my prayer is that they stay safe!

  15. says

    Don’t believe everything you read in the media. To hear them tell it, none of us are interested in facts. They have been ready to tell their sensationalized one-sided story from day one–without waiting for facts, evidence or even probability. They created much of this story with their fictional “obviously this is how and why” and their continued misrepresentation keeps the propaganda going.

    Some support from the governor and other politicians for the police department wouldn’t go amiss either. How about y’all lead instead of react? Or you go down on those streets and tell everyone looting to calm down if you have it all figured out.

  16. says

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/leoka-2010

    Here are your stats for officers assaulted – they are from the FBI LEOKA studies, and the data on officer involved shootings is from the FBI UCR reports. A few quick stats from 2010 (they year you used above):

    53,469 officers were assaulted
    20,512 were assaulted by a deadly weapon (knife, gun or other weapon)
    26% of all officers assaulted sustained injuries
    56 officers were killed feloniously
    397 suspects were killed by police
    So, of all the officers assaulted by a DEADLY WEAPON, officers only shot and killed suspects in 1.9% of those cases.
    Of all the times they were assaulted in general, police only shot and killed suspects in 0.7% of those incidents.

  17. David Celestin says

    It seems ironic to me that some of the commenters are making the same mistake that they are complaining about. One of the commenters said, “These people were raised to hate and not respect anyone, especially the police.” Really? Well that’s a blanket statement! Or, “They use any excuse to loot and destroy or kill someone.” You want us to not treat all cops like criminals but you people treat all of us like criminals. I’m not a criminal but some of the people on this page would treat me like one just by how I look or dress or worse, just by the color of my skin.
    Another commenter said, “The public has become Judge and jury to the officers. At the same time they form riots and steal. As if that wasn’t enough they always fall back to the “racial line”.” Are we talking about every protester out there or only a few? You don’t think the looting has been over exaggerated too? What percentage of the people out there is looting, do you think? I’m willing to bet it’s far less than 10%. But yet the media and the public at large acts like every single person out there is looting or committing crimes. How about your commenters take their own advice: “Also as you rightly demonstrated one bad apple does NOT make the whole bunch bad.”
    The comments on this page sickened me. Nothing is going to change until you people take a long hard look at yourselves and see how YOU are contributing to society. It’s comments like this, “I think the majority really do, and it absolutely astonishes me. It’s mind blowing cause these POS’s wouldn’t even be alive anymore. I can’t comprehend what kinds of absolute scum think that they wouldn’t be killed by their buddy POS’ s the MINUTE the presence of police was non existent. They’d be off’d for no reason at all, yet they wish the above was the case.”
    The majority?!! Really? And you don’t see yourself making the same misguided judgment call that you’re asking them NOT to make?! Oh the irony!
    “As for the chip, some do, some don’t. But they are human, and while we sit on the sidelines and judge, they go to work and are judged. It’s a complicated position and unless you are in that position, you can’t possibly know what it’s like. I think blanket statements about the police being bad and that all black men in the inner city have a target on their backs are very dangerous and feed the fear. We teach fear each and every generation. Fear breeds other actions, the police are afraid and the civilians are afraid. How do we bridge that gap?” At least this statement actually mentions the other side of the argument so I thank you for that. Most other people could care less about the other side. They don’t realize that some, not all, black men have chips on their shoulders and when provoked even slightly, they react violently. Same with cops. But we need to realize on both sides that not all cops are bad and not all black men are criminals.

    “It’s about NOT taking chances. I have a concealed handgun license, and if someone rushed me, I would fire without blinking once.” I thought police officers were supposed to be trained to not react like that. You say, “…Make sure EVERYONE goes Home safe.” I just wish that included the black person too.

    • Karen says

      Hi David,
      Thank you so much for your reply! I agree wholeheartedly with so much of what you said! Couple things:

      – When Shannon said “These people were raised to hate and not respect anyone, especially the police.”, she meant criminals, not blacks. Because I know Shannon personally, I know what she meant. I think one of our primary problems is that when we say “those people” poeple automatically assume we are talking about blacks. I had the contributing editor of a large publication call me a racist because I said “If people don’t want to be portrayed in a bad light, they should be careful of what pictures they post on social media.” Her response? “By ‘people’ I assume you mean black people.” Honestly, I meant everyone.

      -“I think the majority really do…” – he’s talking about the majority of morons he is referring, not the majority of blacks. Again, interpretation of the written word comes from the mind.

      – “At least this statement actually mentions the other side of the argument so I thank you for that. Most other people could care less about the other side.” – this article IS one of the other sides. Everywhere you turn over the last week has been about “white privelege”, “black anger”, etc. It has shown how blacks have been treated throughout the years. Very few have addressed the perception of police. This article isn’t about race or blacks. It’s about how police are perceived and why it’s not always correct. Ferguson has brought it to the forefront and has given me a forum. If I thought the blacks weren’t getting their side told, I would write about them. But the media has sensationalized police brutality and the plight of the poor black people. Be mad at THEM for portraying blacks as “poor black people”. I can’t stand the media. A police officer shoots a white man. Headline- Police Kill Man. A police office shoots a black man. Headline – Police Kill Black Man. A black man kills a black men – Man dies in Argument. A white man kills a white man – Man dies in Argument. The media is the biggest perpetrator of the oppression of the black image. I care about the black side, I really do and I wish I knew the solution but right now a voice that needs to be heard is one in support of all good police.

      Frankly,

      I clearly remember 2 events in my life – when I was in my early 20’s I said someone was good looking and described him as tall, black, well-built. My friend said I was a racist because I felt the need to include the word black. I stopped using it immediately. Many years later while at the beach, I said “That guy is absolutely gorgeous”. A different friend said “What guy?” “The guy in the blue shorts” “What guy in the blue shorts?” “Right there!” “You mean the black guy?” Why do we have to say black or white? Why can’t we just say guy? They are all guys, right?

      My son came home from school one day and talked about white Robert, brown Robert and tan Robert. Once I got to the bottom of it, he was talking about their skin color, we taught him to use other descriptions – they are now Robert R, Robert L and Robert C. Letters of their last names. He was 6, I expect that from a child, not an adult.

      – “Make sure EVERYONE goes Home safe” I just wish that included the black person too. – that’s what he meant. But I know not everyone does.

      In all honesty, you know as well as I do that black people make blanket comments about white people, everyone is a fault. Your comment “The comments on this page sickened me.” Saddens me greatly. These people, the ones who support police and who believe they are getting a raw deal, need an outlet, also. I hope that comments by people (all people) saying that police should die and they are all POS’s (and specify that they are referring to police) sicken you, too.

      Thanks again for a great response and I hope you stay safe.

  18. David Celestin says

    In no way does Shannon imply criminals or black people in her comment. You can “know” her well, but unless you are Shannon, you cannot state with certainty what she meant. We are both wrong in assuming. We both have our “glasses” on. :)

    It’s easy for someone in the majority to say no one should notice race. How would you feel if I said we shouldn’t recognize you as a woman? Why shouldn’t we? You are, in fact, a woman. Saying we shouldn’t see someone for who they are is actually an insult.

    The problem I have with all of this is that you seem to think the police need help. Last time I checked it was the police that had the upper hand. They’re the ones with the guns, tanks, snipers, shields, and gas masks, not to mention the support of the National Guard. If police officers want us to think of them as the good guys, maybe they should start acting like the good guys and treating their own like bad guys when show themselves to be such. Too many times the obvious bad guys on the force go free without even a slap on the wrist because they don’t like to prosecute their own. Why? When it’s obvious to us that a police officer has done something wrong and nothing happens to him, how are we supposed to act? Especially when it happens over and over again?

    Have you ever been stopped by the police and harrassed for no reason at all? I have. I’ve had a gun pointed at me, told to get on the ground, thrown in the back of a police car without any explanation, brought to the scene of a crime, and had an old Chinese man walk up to car, take a long, hard look at me and say, “No. That’s not him”, and walk off. What if that old man thought we all looked alike? Are you telling me that I could’ve been sent to jail just because this old man had bad eyesight?! How many times has something like this happened to you? How many times do you think this has happened to innocent boys, young men, teenagers, and grown adults?

    What about the time a few friends and I were walking home from the movies. A police car pulls up behind us. The officers jump out with guns drawn, they tell us to get on our knees in front of the car and for us to put our faces up against the hot car with our hands behind our heads. They come up behind us and start kneeing us in our backs and heads. They’re shouting at us, “Where’s the screwdriver?! Where are the tools?! Where’d you throw them?! What car were you planning to steal?!” Of course we have no idea what they were talking about. We just came from watching Braveheart, we weren’t trying to steal any cars, nor did we have any “tools” on us. They took everything out of our pockets and literally threw all the contents down the street so we’d have to pick it all up afterwards. When they were finally finished demoralizing us, finished taking away whatever last shred of dignity we had, and finished treating us as subhuman, they let us go. Has anything like that ever happened to you? I highly doubt it.

    Things like that are the reason we don’t trust, nor like the police. We do need to realize that not all of them are bad, but they need to realize that not all of us are criminals. I don’t know which needs to come first. I think it needs to start with the ones with the power–the police. They’re the ones that have sworn to protect, but yet so many in the black community feel more attacked than protected. And that has nothing to do with the media. That’s good old fashioned experience.

    • Karen says

      Thanks again for all your comments David! I have been asked to have sex with an officer in exchange for getting out of a ticket. I was in my 20’s it happened once and I forgot about it until I read your comment. It certainly didn’t taint my image of police, it make me think that guy was a jerk. But I hear where you are coming from. Do I think police need help? Yes, with their image and with the constant assumptions and vile things that are said. Everyone blamed the officer right off the bat with no information. I hate that. I hate that they get killed for doing their jobs. I hate that the headlines are alwsys anti-police. Maybe they prtect esch othrr because on one else does. It’s not fair to anyone.

      I don’t disagree that their is an issue with some police. The discussion about what happens to police when they do something wrong is way too big to tackle here, but there problems. Maybe we have jails that hold only police so they aren’t killed my inmates when they get sent to prison, I don’t know. I also it’s so tough politically to prosecute and because where is the line between protecting the peace…etc. Similar to the American soldier when he has “collateral damage”, it’s never easy.

      I am very sorry that this even needs to be discussed. I am very sorry that you have been subjected to such hatred. But I know for a fact that not all police are like that, that’s the message people need to hear. All black men are not criminals or thugs, people need to hear that, too. Fear begets violence. It sucks all around.

  19. Goddam American says

    I have two suggestions. First, read a bit about “doubling” as first defined by Robert Jay Lifton. A lovely home life may be utterly disconnected from a wide spectrum of incongruous behavior on the job.

    Second, if as you say a small minority of abusive officers sully the perception and even endanger the safety of other cops, they are surely exposed by their colleagues for what they are and driven out. Except that that never happens. Good, bad or downright evil, cops protect other cops. This costs them a lot of respect and rightfully so.

    As for running out of cops, the appeal of brutality with impunity guarantees a steady supply although the quality will decline as you can imagine the personality types that attracts. If your people are decent as you say, I hope they make it out okay.

  20. says

    Thank you so much for this post, it is so nice to hear a fair perspective on this and I wholeheartedly agree that the media has been totally irresponsible, especially when it comes to issues like police brutality and military style police weaponry. I have been trying to make similar argument through my blog as well, trying to advocate for compassion for police which seems to be so lacking at this time. http://writingtheleftunsaid.blogspot.com Prayers for you and your family!!

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