Murder by Cop: The year in review

Justin King
December 10, 2014

(TheAntiMedia) Everybody knows the names Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and John Crawford. Those names are now etched in the collective memories of the US and will remain there for quite some time. Three incidents hardly shows a pattern of police brutality and corruption. What else has happened recently that might have contributed to a complete disregard for anyone wearing a badge?

In January of this year, the Fullerton cops that beat a mentally ill homeless man to death because he was sitting in the wrong area  walked out of a courtroom as free men. You can watch the video and listen to Kelly Thomas beg for his life as cops beat him into a coma below.

In February, a cop shot and killed a high school student because he answered the door holding a video game remote. The cop was there to serve a minor violation of probation warrant on someone else in the home. Previously the officer opened fire on another unarmed person, but missed. It is clear at this point that holding anything in your hands is grounds for the police to murder you.

In March, cops killed a homeless man for “illegally camping.” While he was attempting to surrender, he was shot repeatedly, hit with a grenade, attacked by a K-9, and then shot with a bean bag while he bled to death in the dirt. An officer announced his intentions to shoot the man two hours before the first shot was fired. He is retiring with full benefits. The video is available here.

In April, cops gunned down the victim of a serious assault after he tried to get away from his assailant to the “safety” of the police. The cops had established an “entry team” near the door and announced their presence. The entry team was obviously untrained and announcing your presence before making a dynamic entry in a hostage situation is quite literally against every rule in the book.

In May, cops in Habersham Georgia tossed a concussion grenade through a window into a crib and blew a hole in the child who wound up in a coma. They were serving a petty drug warrant. Of course, the person they were looking for didn’t even live there. The department then refused to pay for the medical bills for the child they maimed.

Also in May, cops beat a man with a flashlight and tazed him because he was disoriented in an apartment complex. He was asking for help and he wound up dying.

In September, a man who was carrying a decorative sword was killed by Utah cops after they say he attacked them. Of course later, surveillance footage from local businesses was released that showed the man “running for his life.” He was shot in the back. The shooting was predictably ruled as a “justified shoot” and the killers never faced trial.

In November, charges were tossed out against an officer who killed a 7-year-old girl while she was sleeping during a botched raid. The fatal shot was fired by a cop who was blinded by a grenade that had been thrown by another officer. Since he couldn’t see, the only responsible thing to do was to start firing. Surprisingly, the cops didn’t claim they were in fear for their life, nor did they plant a weapon on the 7-year-old. The killer was charged, but then the charges were dropped.

Also in November, Salt Lake City cops were cleared in the shooting of an unarmed man outside a gas station. The local media played a wonderful part in clearing the killers by repeatedly pointing out that the man was above the .08 blood alcohol level for driving, which doesn’t really matter since he wasn’t in a car. They also attempted to paint him as suicidal. It should be noted that cops in Utah kill more people than drug dealers or gang members.

Also in November, an NYPD cop shot and killed an unarmed man in a stairway because… well he was there with his children.  There has still been no reason given for the murder. The case is on its way to the grand jury, and we know how that will turn out.

Just a few days ago in Arizona, cops killed another unarmed man because… well, why not? It’s not like they have ever had to explain their actions.

The worst part about this list is that it is nowhere near complete. Police kill someone every single day in this country. Sometimes it is justified, sometimes it is clearly not justified, and sometimes the only thing the public has is the word of the officers involved, which has become notoriously unreliable. In the same timeframe, cops killed more Americans than died in the Iraq war. An American is more likely to be killed while unarmed by a cop than to be killed by the dreaded ISIS terrorist group. If 9/11 is discounted, murder by cop is more likely than being killed by all terrorist groups combined. In the last 15 years, more than 25% of people killed by the NYPD were unarmed.

It should be noted that the number of cops shot and killed last year was 33. That’s the lowest rate of officer “death by gunfire” in over 100 years. There are also exponentially more officers patrolling the streets of Police State USA. Being a cop is not a statistically dangerous job. It isn’t even in the top ten of dangerous jobs. Your local pizza delivery driver has a higher chance of being killed on duty than a cop.

This is an epidemic that the US government will not address. After all, it’s better to have a population that lives in fear than one that will exercise their rights. With a government that encourages officers to act like the Gestapo, is there any real surprise that protests and riots are breaking out all over the country?

Author’s note: Not all months are listed in order to have room to profile multiple cases in the same month.


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