Denying Human Fallibility -- Holding Police Accountable (Or Not)

Steve Chapman's article in Reason on police accountability is good throughout, but these stats are amazing:

Consider Cleveland. The ClevelandPlain Dealer reported that the police department looked into 4,427 uses of force by cops over four years and gave its blessing to each one. In Houston, every shooting over six years was found by the internal affairs department to be absolutely necessary. ...

The feds also assume that law enforcement officers are less fallible than the pope. From January 2010 to October 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported, Border Patrol agents shot 67 people, killing 19. Three of the agents are still being investigated. Of the remaining 64, 62 were absolved. The other two got a stern lecture.

It's all part of a national pattern. Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson has done extensive research on killings by cops. His conclusion? "It's very rare that an officer gets charged with a homicide offense resulting from their on-duty conduct even though people are killed on a fairly regular basis," he told The Wall Street Journal.

I have already given my cynical take on why this problem exists and why it is likely to persist.  Specifically, Conservatives fetishize the police and refuse to believe any shooting was unjustified and Liberals are suspicious of the police but refuse to challenge the powerful public employees unions that protect police from accountability.

  • Vypuero

    Look at this video - this is just stunning - at one point kid was wrong, should have shown licence/reg/ins - but I think the death sentence for that is not even close to reasonable.

    http://thefreethoughtproject.com/17-year-boy-shot-killed-cops-flashing-headlights-flexing-rights/

  • davesmith001

    "In Houston, every shooting over six years was found by the internal affairs department to be absolutely necessary." I wonder if the language of this is accurate and not hyperbole. "Necessary." Not "Justified" but "Necessary."

  • stan

    "Conservatives fetishize the police and refuse to believe any shooting was unjustified"--I call BS Warren. Deliberately choosing to piss people off with crap like that isn't enhancing your credibility.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    Conservative fetishes for ever bigger government in the arenas of anything even ostensibly related to the military, homeland security, police, government regulation of marriage and intoxicants, and immigration restrictions are insatiable. It is amusing to watch Republican candidates attempt to morph their beliefs and past histories into the "correct" positions on these issues.

  • NL7

    Under Houston PD policy, justified means the officer reasonably believed it was necessary. "Absolutely" necessary may be an embellishment for polemical effect.