This study is a devastating blow to the liberal claim that the police are racist and disproportionately target African-Americans when using deadly force. The fact that most of the people killed were armed also belies the notion that cops are gunning down helpless bystanders en masse across America. As The Washington Post explains, the majority of people killed in police shootings are armed or, tragically, suicidal or mentally ill.
“The Post documented well more than twice as many fatal shootings this year as the average annual tally reported by the FBI over the past decade. The FBI and the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics now acknowledge that their data collection has been deeply flawed. FBI Director James B. Comey called his agency’s database ‘unacceptable.' Both agencies have launched efforts to create new systems for documenting fatalities.
The FBI will replace its current program with a ‘near real-time' database to be made public by 2017, said Stephen L. Morris, a senior FBI official whose division is responsible for collecting crime data.
‘We are responding to a real human outcry,' Morris said. ‘People want to know what police are doing, and they want to know why they are using force. It always fell to the bottom before. It is now the highest priority.'
The Post’s database, compiled from interviews, police reports, local news accounts and other sources, tracked more than a dozen details about each killing, including the events that led to the fatal encounter, whether the slain person was armed, and demographic data on each person. The Post will continue tracking fatal shootings by police in 2016.
The research also noted whether victims were mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis, a category that came to account for one-quarter of those killed. Officers fatally shot at least 243 people with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness.
The analysis found that about 9 in 10 of the mentally troubled people were armed, usually with guns but also with knives or other sharp objects. But the analysis also found that most of them died at the hands of police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill.
‘Often they have an edged weapon, like a knife, and when officers start yelling, ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ that will not calm them down,' said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington police think tank. ‘Instead, it increases their anxiety.'
In most of those cases, police were called by a relative or a neighbor who was worried about a mentally fragile person’s erratic behavior. Yvonne Mote of Alabama dialed 911 in March out of desperation, hoping police could help her brother, Shane Watkins, who suffered from schizophrenia. Instead, he wound up dead.
‘A week after they killed my brother, there was an armed robbery,' Mote said. ‘That guy had a gun, and they arrested him without killing him. Why did they have to kill my brother, who only had a box cutter? I still don’t understand.'
The prosecutor in the Mearkle case, Johnny Baer, still says it was right to charge the officer with murder. She was ‘out of control,' he said.
In court, Baer told jurors that ‘anytime anyone involved in an encounter with a police officer doesn’t show their hands, that isn’t a reason to shoot. Ninety-nine point nine percent of police officers use extraordinary restraint in these situations.'”
Source: Washington Post