Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More people in Utah are shot by police than by criminals

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Think of it: in Utah the police are more dangerous (with respect to shootings) than criminals. From an excellent column by Radley Balko that includes some other examples of police shooting innocent people:

. . . Finally, a sobering report from the Salt Lake Tribune.

In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members.

Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse.

And so far this year, deadly force by police has claimed more lives — 13, including a Saturday shooting in South Jordan — than has violence between spouses and dating partners.

As the tally of fatal police shootings rises, law enforcement watchdogs say it is time to treat deadly force as a potentially serious public safety problem.

“The numbers reflect that there could be an issue, and it’s going to take a deeper understanding of these shootings,” said Chris Gebhardt, a former police lieutenant and sergeant who served in Washington, D.C., and in Utah, including six years on SWAT teams and several training duties. “It definitely can’t be written off as citizen groups being upset with law enforcement.”

Through October, 45 people had been killed by law enforcement officers in Utah since 2010, accounting for 15 percent of all homicides during that period.

A Salt Lake Tribune review of nearly 300 homicides, using media reports, state crime statistics, medical-examiner records and court records, shows that use of force by police is the second-most common circumstance under which Utahns kill each other, surpassed only by intimate partner violence.

Saturday’s shooting, which occurred after an officer responded to a trespassing call, remains under investigation.

Nearly all of the fatal shootings by police have been deemed by county prosecutors to be justified. Only one — the 2012 shooting of Danielle Willard by West Valley City police — was deemed unjustified, and the subsequent criminal charge was thrown out last month by a judge.

The report also looks into police training, and finds that while academy cadets in Utah do get some instruction on deescalation and conflict resolution, in much of the state, that’s all they get. The ongoing training for the rest of their careers is more one sided — lots of education pertaining to using force, but little to no guidance on how to avoid the use of force. The good news is that there is an interesting and so far somewhat successful police reform movement currently underway in Utah.

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 November 2014 at 2:51 pm

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