Even the title was designed to inflame anti-local police passions: “986 people were shot and killed by police this year” headlined the Washington Post’s 2015 Police Shootings Investigation published the day after Christmas.
The Post’s writers, in summarizing the study, did their best to take the results and use them to “prove” that killer cops are on the loose in the country, far more than anyone knew.
First: Since mental illness played a role in a quarter of the killings, the authors were quick to draw the conclusion that the local police are generally poorly trained to handle people “in the throes of a mental or emotional crisis” and, with more training “many of [those] deaths … may be preventable.”
Second, the authors said that 25 percent of those fatal shootings involved a fleeing suspect, without any mention of whether suspects were fleeing on foot or in a vehicle or whether the police perceived those suspects to be a danger to others. Instead the authors quoted a professor who said that they were shot because police “are used to giving commands and [having] people obeying. They don’t like it when people don’t listen to them, and things can quickly become violent when people don’t follow their orders.” Implied conclusion: The police in general are thugs and shoot people when they don’t behave.
A closer look at the study, however, reveals a much different picture from that which the authors tried to paint. In 75 percent of the fatal shootings, the police were either under attack themselves, or were defending someone who was. Ninety-one percent of those killed were armed, some with guns, some with knives, and some with their vehicles using them as a weapon.
Michael Walsh, writing in the New York Post, smelled the phony narrative, pointing out that the report from the Washington Post found:
White cops shooting unarmed black men accounted for less than four percent of fatal policy shootings;
The majority of those killed were brandishing weapons, [were] suicidal or mentally troubled, or bolted when ordered to surrender; and
Nearly a third of police shootings resulted from car chases that began with a minor traffic stop.
Concluded Walsh: “These incidents don’t prove that the ‘real problem’ is cops. It isn’t an ‘epidemic.’ And it isn’t racist to suggest that some perspective is warranted here.”
But that perspective is missing entirely from the Washington Post, which provided readers a narrative analogous to ones ceaselessly repeated by Black Lives Matter, seeking to blame attacks on civilian aggressors and innocents entirely on the police. It also is the approach taken by Professor Jerome Karabell, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Karabel compared police killings in the United States in the 21st century to be the equivalent of lynchings in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and then referred to efforts by such groups as Black Lives Matter. In the summary of his 19-page “analysis,” dutifully published by the left-wing Huffington Post in November, he wrote: "Like the movements against lynching, state-sanctioned segregation and the death penalty before it, today’s movement is part of a centuries-long struggle for racial justice."
But of course, both the insinuation that the police are generally racist killers and that the police need to be controlled by a higher power, such as the U.S. government, are phony claims usually forwarded by groups with socialist/communist sympathies, as the professor would know if he took the time to do his homework. If he had he would learn that attacks on the integrity of local police and its control by local government was exposed in 1961 when Lyman Kirkpatrick, a staffer for the director of the CIA testified before the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee. His testimony centered around a captured handbook prepared for Soviet agents and Communist Party activists operating in the country. It outlined procedures that were/are being employed to harass, threaten, and endanger local police officers trying to maintain peace.
As noted by James Fitzgerald, writing for The John Birch Society’s Support Your Local Police program, the committee exposed the roots of the attack on local police:
Our police are among the foremost guardians of freedom and thus a major target of the Communists. The better the force … the more vital it is for the Communists to destroy it.
The Communists technique (or war against police) has been directed primarily toward discrediting the police in the eyes of the public.
There is a natural antipathy between the police and Communists. The police learn early in their careers that the Communists Party is not just another political party but is an international conspiracy.
A campaign against the police in one free country is not planned and directed by that country; it is planned and directed by the strategists of international communism.
If Professor Karabel had done his homework, he could then have made the connection between that 1961 document and Black Lives Matter, co-founded by three revolutionaries, at least one of whom has communist and Marxist sympathies.
As well, as was indicated earlier, a careful perusal of the study by the Washington Post, which purported to prove the narrative that “killer cops” are on the rampage, reveals just that most deadly police encounters are justified: In a nation of 320 million, local police, doing their duty to protect innocents, killed less than 1,000 individuals, most of whom would still be alive today if they hadn’t threatened the police with weapons. That many of them were black unfortunately reflects the simple fact that, between 1980 and 2008, according to the Department of Justice, blacks committed 52 percent of the murders in America while they represented just 12 percent of the population.
These vital pieces of information were missing from the study, proving again that “half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.”