Why Police Shootings No Longer Are Media’s Top Story

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Protest march in Baltimore, 2014. Photo by Bruce Emmerling via Flickr

Edward Minguela, 32, is standing on the sidewalk, his hands in the air. Three Camden County, N.J., police officers approach with their weapons drawn. They’d received an anonymous tip about a man with a gun. Minguela, who fit the description, is unarmed. The first officer to reach Minguela grabs him from behind and slams him to the ground.

The officer then curls a fist and starts punching — landing a dozen rapid blows to Minguela’s head as two other officers help pin the man to the ground. A surveillance camera mounted to a nearby liquor store captured the Feb. 22 beating frame by frame, but it has had little publicity, writes the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery.

Police violence and criminal justice reform more broadly were a leading domestic news story line in the final two years of the Obama administration.  Now the issue has all but vanished from the national political conversation.

It’s not because police violence has stopped. As of last Thursday, 212 people had been shot and killed by U.S. police officers so far this year, according to the Post’s police shooting database, about the same pace of three fatal shootings per day that The Post has recorded since 2015. It’s not because reporters have abandoned police accountability:

Recent months have seen intensive investigations from BuzzFeed, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Tampa Bay Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, among others.

The Trump administration now is the drama at center stage.

“The nation has a short attention span, and frankly, is interested in what the major networks tell the nation it should be interested in,” says Devon Jacob, the civil rights attorney representing New Jersey’s Minguela.

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