British police officer sentenced to 8 years in jail for manslaughter

Originally published at: British police officer sentenced to 8 years in jail for manslaughter | Boing Boing


The number of murders that the US police commit would probably be similar to the UK if they weren’t armed.
Disarm the police.


The US also has roughly 5 times the population of Britain. So if we took Britain’s rate of police killings x5, we’d be looking at 25 police killings per year in a population-adjusted Britain. The US is still 40 times that figure. So yeah, my guess would be having an armed police force greatly increases the chance for the police to kill someone. You can all thank me for my “next level” thinking.


My instinct is always to do rough math on this stuff to compare.

If America has ~300 million people, and the UK has ~60 million, that’s ~5x. If the UK cops kill 5 people per year, then with all else being equal American cops should only be killing about 25. American cops, therefore, kill 40 times as many people as they should be killing.

Granted, there’s a lot of differences there: the military-grade levels of armament, the long-running and still active social and racial discrimination problems, the general levels of fear and belligerence of the population, the cultural celebration of violence - but that still seems damned high.

Do better, America.


Damn, beat me to it.


And climbing…


Objection. The number they should be killing is zero.


Agreed, but all other considerations aside (the value of human life, for example), the numbers are still way off.


It’s a nice thought that being a police officer is an aggravating factor, rather than a mitigating one.

I’m not sure how true that really is in practice for British police, or even in this case, but at least the principle is officially acknowledged.


Only 5 years in prison? Seriously?


He was found guilty of manslaughter, not murder. He got close to the highest sentence possible, and police are rarely found guilty, so this is a minor success.


On the other hand, British police kill about 5 people a year, compared to 1000 or so in the U.S.

Trying Never Give Up GIF by Britannia on EPIX


That is true.

So in the event of another Sandy Hook the cops are supposed to show up and just yell at the shooter? Would you approach an angry guy with an AR-15 if all you had was a taser? I think we’re too far down the rabbit hole to disarm the police. Too many unstable Americans have guns at this point (including some cops). A better solution would be to have stricter hiring criteria including psychological evaluations when recruiting new police officers. That and much, much stricter penalties for killing unarmed civilians.

I would prefer to also disarm the mentally ill, and the evil, and the careless and my neighbors. Disarm the police. Maybe they will agree with me about the others then.


As opposed to the real Sandy Hook where they entered the building a few minutes after the shooter’s suicide and their firearms played no role? Even if we decide to base our police weapons policy on such events it would still be an option to dispatch specially trained armed officers for the situations where a gun might improve the outcome.



Can we get this judge over here to tell our judiciary that it “should be obvious to you” that qualified impunity is not a valid interpretation of the constitution?

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Deliberate, or Freudian slip?


I get the need to explain why there’s such a range and try and calibrate for cultural differences, but should any of these differences be “granted”, as though they’re just background noise rather than the actual underlying reasons for police murder? Because the four things you’ve listed seem like pretty powerful explanations for the difference to me. If I was doing empirical research, those are pretty much the first four hypotheses I’d want to test.

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