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Letter From A Cop: Stop Counting Colors

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Dear Editor;

You asked for this information, so I went out and got it.  Here is what I’ve found in a brief search of verifiable sources.  I’ve skipped the whole Facebook as a source thing.  As you know Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9, 2014.  In the time since then, two police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty:  Chief Michael Pimental of the Elmendorf, Texas police department and Daryl Pierson of the Rochester, NY police department.

Chief Pimental was shot and killed by a Hispanic male and Ptl. Pierson was shot and killed by a black male.  Both police officers were white.  Attorney General Eric Holder made no moves to conduct an investigation into the immigration status of the man who shot and killed Chief Pimental and made no move to impose a consent decree against the New York Department of Corrections since the black man who shot and killed Ptl. Pierson was on parole/probation.  Those numbers do not include a Puerto Rican police officer shot and killed during a narcotics investigation (Hispanic male killed by a Hispanic male), or a sheriff’s deputy (white) who was struck and killed by a car driven by a white male fleeing arrest.

During 2012 (most recent statistics available from the FBI) there were 48 police officers killed in the line of duty.  Of those 48 officers, 42 were white and 6 were black.  Of the 51 offenders identified in connection with the 48 killings of police officers, 30 were white and 16 were black.

So it appears that folks of every color are killing each other.  I don’t recall seeing riots, protests or Department of Justice investigations when police officers are killed in the line of duty.  No one is holding entire communities responsible for the actions of one suspect when that suspect has killed a police officer.  But, if a police officer kills a suspect, then there are riots and questions about the skin color of the suspect and officer.  Are there as many questions asked if a black police officer kills a white suspect?  What about a white police officer who kills a white suspect?  Or a black police officer killing a black suspect?

The time of making assumptions based on skin color is long gone.  Lets make assumptions based on actions, behaviors and character.  There are bad cops.  Just as there are bad lawyers, doctors, accountants and assembly line workers.  Studies have shown that there are fewer bad cops than there are bad actors in other professions.  A 22-year study by Arizona State University showed that of all the officers terminated by the New York City Police Department, less than 5 percent were terminated for Abuse of Force.  More officers were terminated for administrative violations and drug use than for brutality.

Please think about these numbers when you cover these issues in the future.

Sincerely,

“A Cop”

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