25% of people shot to death by LA police were unarmed. No cops were prosecuted

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Why do we still pretend we live in a country of freedom, law, and justice again? Between the abrogation of the fourth amendment through the surveillance infrastructure built into our relationship with the Internet, the utter farce that is the supposed right to an attorney, the legal torture, the jailing of political prisoners, the utter lack of accountability of the law enforcement arm of the state, the growing dominance of corporate law, and the utter ineptitude of the opposition to all these things: We’re not just royally screwed; we’re done. It’s over. We’ve lost. I’m not going to cleave to the idea that it can’t change, but it won’t change in the current context.


this really destroys my media inspired image of the police as going around shooting unarmed people and then planting guns on them afterwards.


Well I’m not concerned. They don’t shoot good people like me.



Uh, you know the police could decide to even racial differences by shooting more white and Latino people.


If the “relative to population” caveat referred to the national population, this would mean that far more whites had been fatally shot than blacks, because there are far more whites in the national population.

However, these numbers are based on population demographics in LA. In LA, the cops are actually shooting slightly more black men than white men in absolute numbers.

These numbers are way off from the national averages, except for the number of cops prosecuted, which sadly is pretty much the same.

Edited as per @awjt’s correction below.


Headline error: the study is about people “shot”, not “shot to death”.


Hey, it turns out there was a good cop once! The LAPD had him thrown him in jail because he didn’t like officers beating up their children and raping their wives.

In 1997, the Los Angeles Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation of the LAPD after a legal consultant named Bob Mullally leaked shocking LAPD personnel files to the press.

These files documented scores of violent domestic crimes committed by LAPD officers. Mullally was so shocked by the LAPD’s mishandling of this police family violence that he decided to violate the civil protective order in the case he was working on and turn the files over to the media, in the hopes of creating change in the LAPD.

Rather than reviewing the problem or recommending improvements, the LAPD sued Mullally for leaking the information.

In 2002, after multiple appeals, Mullally was sentenced to 45 days in federal prison. None of the police officers he exposed were ever prosecuted for their crimes, and many continue to serve as gun-carrying LAPD officers.

Even the prosecutor in the case stated on record that this sentence was “extreme” for a violation of a civil protective order.

Mullally is the first person in United States history to ever serve a jail term for this type of violation. He served his time in 2003, 6 years after he exposed the files.

Source here.


I try to stay out of politics, but have any of the current crop of f$!#&^%! candidates addressed this in a significant and/or convincing way?

Ok, I found an article from the Washington Post (from August, so not all are still in) that shows almost none have said anything. It breaks it down like this:

The Gold Stars: Martin O’Malley, Rand Paul
The Also-Rans: Jim Webb, Rick Perry, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders
Whisperers of Reform: Jeb Bush, Lincoln Chafee, Lyndsey Graham
Wait and See: John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal
Reform? What Reform?: Marco Rubio,Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Jim Gilmore, George Pataki, Rick Santorum
The Retrograde: Mike Huckabee


Yeah, but 75% of those shot were armed, so it’s all good. Anything over 50% is still a pass, right?

This is incorrect.
I had no problem understanding the intent of what was originally written.

Sanders deserves a better rating than that; the author is unfamiliar with him and the number of times he’s mentioned that the US has an unprecedented prison population. Admittedly, Sanders should have more specifics up on his site, but I think he has his work cut out getting Americans to realise socialism is mainstream.


Unarmed? It sounds to me like many of them were armed with Blackness, which is apparently enough to get them shot in some parts of LA.

I think pretending is indispensable to being a USAmerican. We pretend we’re exceptional, we pretend “police actions” aren’t undeclared wars, we pretend that personal freedom and a “war” on drugs are compatible, we pretend that we’re not an empire, etc.

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I think America’s gun culture goes a very long way to justify murder by police. Even if the people they shot were unarmed, in many cases they can argue that it was reasonable for them to think that the people were armed. I think of that video where the guy went into his car to get his registration at the request of a police officer and the officer shot him, fearing he was going to grab a gun. In Canada that wouldn’t fly because the idea that police have to worry about being shot when they ask someone for their registration is too absurd.

It turns out that the idea that police are in constant danger of being shot in America is statistically absurd as well, but they have a lot more in-the-moment justification for fearing guns, which has helped to build a mentality of shoot first, and helps any individual police officer claim they were justified in their actions. Since these incidents are looked at as incidents, not as systemic problems (thanks culture of individual responsibility), chance of arrest and conviction is almost too small to contemplate.


OK, fixed. Thanks!

I don’t think cowardice and murder can be blamed on anyone but the cowardly murderers.

Well, the justice system of your nation doesn’t blame the cowardice and murder on the cowardly murderers. Ironically, “individual responsibility” lets them off every time.

I’m trying to fix that, but I have to admit it’s not at the top of my list. I have a lot of existing obligations, and removing corruption from the judicial system is a big job.

I assume an equal number of citizens who shot police to death were unprosecuted.

But it isn’t even really corruption. It doesn’t require anyone to be paid off or coerced. The cop has a reasonable argument that they thought the person was going for a gun. The jury is more likely to believe the cop than the person who was shot, if the person who was shot is even around to tell their side of the story. A jury will have an actual reasonable doubt that the cop was murdering someone. Prosecutors don’t see the point in using resources to take these cases to trial. It’s a mass of individuals making reasonable individual decisions within a system that consistently produces the result of cops having a license to kill.

When you look at it across the entire system, there is obviously something wrong, but taking each case in isolation it is usually very easy to see why charges aren’t laid, and why, if charges were laid, a conviction would be very unlikely. The emphasis on individual responsibility is what lets this continue.