by Christopher Zoukis
More than 1,000 Americans were killed in 2017 by a particularly violent class of fellow citizens. Some of those killed by these highly trained gunmen were children, and many of them were unarmed. Are these shooters terrorists? Heavily armed gang members? No. They’re the police.
According to The Free Thought Project (“TFTP”), police killed at least 1,184 Americans in 2017. Terrorists, on the other hand, killed 12. Those sworn to uphold the law have killed nearly 100 times as many as those attempting to make a political statement through an act of violence on American soil.
The number killed in mass shootings, such as those in Nevada and Texas, are not included in this government tally of terrorist killings. But according to TFTP, even if the deaths from these mass shootings are included, police have still killed far more people than all the mass shooters in 2017 combined.
The tendency of police to kill so many Americans has vexed criminologists and sociologists. Some suggest that America is riddled with crime, but the numbers don’t support that thesis. In the United Kingdom, there are 109.96 crimes per 1,000 citizens. That is nearly three times the rate in America, which stands at 41.29 crimes per 1,000 citizens. But police in the U.K. killed only four people in 2017.
In fact, America stands out across the globe for its high rate of police killings. According to TFTP, American police killed more people in four days than were killed in all of 2017 by police in Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, and Iceland—combined.
The Free Thought Project proposes two reasons why police in America are so deadly compared to the rest of the world. First off, American police are rarely punished for brutality and killing. Police killings are often investigated by other officers from the same agency as the shooter. Prosecutors, who work with local police on a daily basis, are loathe to charge cops with crimes.
But a far bigger problem in America is the militarization of the police force. Police are arguably no longer citizens on patrol, who protect and serve, but members of a standing army that occupies the nation. They are fighting a war on drugs and engage citizens in paramilitary conflict on a daily basis. And the number of citizen casualties in this war is much higher than in the war on terror. That says a lot about our national priorities.
As a digital subscriber to Criminal Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login