An alleged spree of cop-killings? All the data say otherwise

Richmond (Va.) Police Chief Chris Magnus joins protesters against improper use of force by law enforcement.

Richmond (Va.) Police Chief Chris Magnus joins protesters against improper use of force by law enforcement.

To hear Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway describe it, 2015 has become open season on police officers, ginned up by anti-cop “hate groups” and “domestic terrorists.”

Law enforcement officers are being dehumanized,” Conway said in an angry statement released Tuesday. “Those inciting riots and committing murders are simply criminals and do not represent the majority of Americans. They are domestic terrorists with an agenda. Their message is that police lives don’t matter, which sure sounds like a hate group to me. … The disturbing murders of police officers are not isolated events and anyone promoting violence toward our law enforcement officers must be held accountable.”

With all due respect to the sheriff, who has devoted most of his adult life to law enforcement, much of that’s a crock.

Let’s deal first with the obvious: Of course those who murder police officers are criminals who must be held fully accountable. But let me also cite some numbers, gathered from a database compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page, which honors law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty:

In 2014, 59 officers were killed on duty by firearms, assault with a vehicle or other form of assault. In 2005, the total was 70.

So far in 2015, the death toll is 35, well below the pace of last year, the pace of a decade ago, and the average pace of the last 10 years. According to ODMP, officer murders by firearms are down 26 percent, a trend absolutely inconsistent with some concerted campaign to target officers for assassination. (Data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund document a similar decline.)

Now, each and every one of those 35 deaths so far this year is a tragedy. These officers were killed trying to protect the rest of us, and they deserve to be honored. And every officer who puts on a badge and a uniform knows that the same fate may await them tomorrow. That too is a reality that cannot be ignored.

But that’s what makes allegations such as those leveled by Conway and other high-ranking police officials around the country so dangerous. Their claims are backed by no apparent evidence, but they risk creating a heightened and unjustified sense of danger among their own officers. To the degree it causes officers to overreact in a tense situation, it can have tragic consequences.

As we all know, this claim of rising “hatred” of police stems from a series of difficult cases over the last two years in which officers were alleged to have used excessive force, often against black suspects. In some cases the allegations have proved false or unsubstantiated. But in too many cases, video evidence has made it clear that officers acted unprofessionally and even criminally, suggesting that such cases may occur more often than we realized. (Examples here and here and here and here and here. Warning: Explicit violence.) In short, law enforcement officials are reacting to justified criticism and more aggressive oversight of their operations by trying to claim that their officers have become targets of murder and hatred. And it is simply not true.

Conway is right about this much: Nothing, not even the unjustified killing of a suspect or innocent person by a bad police officer, justifies retaliation against law enforcement in general. Officers deserve our respect.

But the opposite is also true. The tragic deaths of good officers should not be used to excuse or cloud the investigation of officers who abuse their authority or kill without cause. They are two entirely different phenomenons, and it is not “hatred” to demand that bad officers be held accountable.

Reader Comments 0

820 comments
Enoch19
Enoch19

Bookman has been against the cops and for the thugs for years.


dreema
dreema

Conway's whole rant was extremely bad form. A textbook case of White Fragility.


"White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation."


http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/view/249

Mick11
Mick11

Something we can all understand; in your life, live it to the max...it's the journey NOT the destination...

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

I personally stopped caring what white people thought about BLM long ago. They can't possibly identify, so their opinions are meaningless.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Because the majority of us do not experience institutional racism or discrimination it is harder for some of us to see it when it happens.  This is why our first instinct is not to trust the people who do experience it first hand.  Does this mean that they are never wrong or lying?  No, but the people in the BLM's movement understand these things in ways that you simply never can nor ever will understand.

Mick11
Mick11

Trump is right to run for president, he may be the wrong guy but a non politician who blows up all of THEIR rules is entertaining!


YES!  Thanks president obama for getting us back on track!  I agree that you have nothing to do with oil prices but all this is occurring on your watch so you benefit...shoot, just six short years ago america and the world was in crisis, look where we are today, leading the pack.


Naysayers:  Deal with it...

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

HDB, I replied to your list below.  You have some serious problems understanding who is jerking your chain you need to work on.  

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Kamchak 

(yawn)

You are just as tiresome as your counterparts who whine incessantly about communism and socialism.

**
And therein lies the problem with so many liberals such as yourself. In rejecting the hysterical apocalypticism of your adversaries, you embrace an anti-crisis position - 'things are just fine', nothing new under the sun - that is just as dogmatic.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@LeninTime 

Show me a real crisis -- not just something from your fevered imagination -- and I will be concerned.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Kamchak @LeninTime 

I would say that the inability - now widely acknowledged and discussed - of the global capitalist economy to sustain some modest growth without interest rates being kept at essentially zero and below counts as a crisis. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

@LeninTime 

(shrug)

We had growth before with high interest rates and I'm sure we will again.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Kamchak @LeninTime Look no further than the Republican controlled congress and you will find all the crisis you want.  They create problems and then get paid to solve them, they never solve anything but just create another crisis.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

For everyone not named td1234hypocriticalbiblethumper, there's a new column. And I beat you all to it!

gotalife
gotalife

"Despite the perennial doom and gloom that I guess is inevitably part of a presidential campaign, America is winning right now," Obama said at a meeting of the Business Roundtable in Washington. "America is great right now. We can do even better."


That deserves a boomy.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@gotalife 

America is winning right now.... America is great right now. We can do even better.

***

Amounts to = election season partisan boilerplate.


gotalife
gotalife

gop = country back in the ditch.


Not complicated. 

td1234
td1234

Tom Brady: ‘I Hope’ Trump Wins The Election



Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@td1234 That settles it then, hypocriticalbiblethumper. Trump it is!

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 Tom Brady could be a bumper sticker for Tump's "make America great again".  He cheats to win.

straker
straker

After Carly trashes Trump tonight, I'd love for him to look at her and say, CARLY, YOU'RE FIRED.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

What was the reason for cop murders prior to black lives matter?  This is such a disingenuous argument by this sheriff and the fake news desk at Fox.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

From the mouth of a BLM protester... Pigs in a blanket sound familiar???

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Answer your own question... It's your argument, not mine.. I'm just pointing out current events....

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Bulls_3y3 

Oooh!  Scary!!!!

By Bull's logic, I guess recent events in Charleston prove that white people wanna kill black church-goers.

LOL!

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

VC how many police where killed this week??? You're being a jerk...

gotalife
gotalife

All the moderator has to do is ask the gop about the real issues to stump them but cnn will use their fake scandals and he said she said yellow journalism for conflicts.

Kamchak
Kamchak

See?

Our boy td just can't quit me.

I have an official stalker.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

No you have an official problem... Get help

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Bulls_3y3 

No you have an official problem...

Our boy td is a problem?

No, no more than a Pomeranian is a problem.

td1234
td1234

"

A pastor in East Texas calmed down an armed Islamic man who had entered his church, allegedly with the intent to kill Christians. Police later arrested the armed man without incident.

Corinth Missionary Baptist Church pastor, Rev. John D. Johnson III, was confronted Sunday morning by an armed Islamic man who told him God had authorized him to take lives, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Johnson used his training from earlier in his life to defuse the situation and get his parishioners to safety.

Rasheed Abdul Aziz, a resident of Jacksonville, Texas, approached the church on Sunday wearing camouflaged pants, a helmet, combat boots, a black T-shirt, and a tactical vest. A canteen hung from the 782 gear."

td1234
td1234

@Eye wonder And just another reason we should not take in any more Muslims in this country. 

td1234
td1234

@Eye wonder You can think whatever you want, civilwarvet, I do not care. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Eye wonder I know I'm going to get blasted for this...but everytime I see someone like you blame ALL Muslims for the few bad apples I can't help but think of the assassination of Ernst vom Rath by a Jewish man...which as used by the Nazis as an excuse for "Kristallnacht" during which at least 91 Jews were killed and 30,000 or more deported to death camps.

Because it's just SO obvious that ALL Jews were equally guilty of that murder...right?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@td1234 @Eye wonder More and more I think you're not the Christian you claim to be. More and more I think you use Christianity as a shield behind which you hide your essential you. More and more...

Kamchak
Kamchak

And yet, our boy td just can't seem to quit reading my worthless posts and responding to them.

If I'm gonna be in his head like this, I sure wish he would clean up the place and get rid of this ratty old fainting couch.

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak No Kammie, you do not have my permission to have day dreams, about night things in the middle of the afternoon about me. 

gotalife
gotalife

Obama on debate: Nothing patriotic 'about talking down America'
Thank you. We made America great again by electing our President twice. Period.
You did that. Not you cons.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Talking down America?

Obama sees that as his job, and he does it frequently.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

So why has Obama spent the last seven years apologizing for America???

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Funny you agree with Obama, who could have guessed that... Ha ha

You seem to ignore all Americans who worked hard. Sad very sad

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Bulls_3y3

Ah, the good ol' "apology tour" meme, wherein Obama told them Yurpeans that the West had done some naughty things at times.

Still sore about that, what, seven years later?