Cops portrayed wrongly as slaughtering citizens
The view of the U.S. from 30,000 feet — which is where our national media breathes — is that cops are slaughtering the country’s citizens. There are few typical police-blotter stories that simply relate violent urban incidents anymore. Every cop-related shooting now is taken as further evidence of the peril our men and women in blue present to common, innocent citizens.
There is no other reason, for example for this story, headlined, “Report: 4 police killings in 24 hours bring total to 500.” The take-away impression, summarized conveniently in the second graph, declares explicitly that this is more than just a summary of urban mayhem:
“And cumulatively, the number of fatal police shootings has reached at least 500 this year, according to one newspaper’s calculation.”
In case you missed the point that these shootings are supportive evidence of “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! Parts 497, 498, 499 and 500,” the story from Cincinnati includes a photo of an angry, young person who burst through police tape to protest the aggression (see above).
But just take a look at the bare details of the four incidents cited in the story.
- Incident One, The Bronx: A domestic-violence suspect who was on parole for a robbery conviction already had shot his ex-girl friend at the scene. He barricaded himself with the wounded woman (who was screaming, “He’s going to kill me!”) in a bedroom. When cops burst in, he pointed his gun at the police and they shot him.
- Incident Two: In Cincinnati, two officers knocked on the door of a man who they believed had threatened to kill a woman in the neighborhood. He opened the door with a .22 caliber rifle pointed at them. One cop instinctively grabbed the rifle barrel, the other shot the struggling suspect in the chest.
- Incident Four: In Tomball, Texas, a 45-year-old felon with outstanding warrants lead cops on a high-speed chase (in which he tried ramming at least three cars) until stopping in front of his grandmother’s house. He got out of the car and pointed a shotgun first at his own head, then at the cops, who shot him, instead. Said a Tomball police spokesman, “People in desperate situations do a lot of desperate things. Putting the public in harm is one that this guy was definitely doing.”
- Incident Three: I’ve saved the incident that is cited third in the original story for last because the news accounts of this one incident suggest it may be the only one of the four that reasonably may raise questions about the officer’s behavior. A cop in a squad car who had been following an erratic-acting suspect shot the man through her rolled-up squad-car window when the suspect got out of his own car and walked up “with a purpose” toward her. This incident is under investigation.
Three of the four incidents corralled as evidence of a disturbing trend of police violence absolutely shout out the opposite: They tell us, plainly, that aggressive, often visibly irrational, and armed suspects threatened not only the lives of officers but of innocent civilians in their paths.
We are in the summer of a deepening media meme that instinctively ties almost every violent incident involving police with the urban myth that the police are recklessly and wantonly murdering minority men in American cities (see: here).
The national story declaring the death toll at the hands of cops has now reached 500 is driven by the implication that cops are on a rampage. That is not just a gross insult that the story offers virtually nothing to belie. It is a destructive falsehood.