Two police officers were cleared by a merit board of charges stemming from the fatal shooting of Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black man. African-American groups said the board had failed, deepening the divide between police and citizens who don’t trust them.
The tally of fatal shootings by law enforcement is still on pace to hit nearly 1,000 for the fourth year in a row. The downturn includes a decline in shootings of unarmed black men, but “we don’t understand yet is what’s causing these numbers to move downward,” a criminologist tells the Washington Post.
In the last two decades, most major police departments barred officers from firing at moving cars. Now, police in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas allow such shooting to stop terrorist attacks. Police critics call the policy changes a shift backward.
Border agents manning land crossings and a checkpoint have used deadly force, as have agents conducting roving patrols – up to 160 miles inland from the border, The Guardian reports. Pedestrians were run over by agents. Car chases culminated in crashes. Some have drowned, others died after they were pepper-sprayed, stunned with tasers or beaten.
The coroner’s autopsy report on the Sacramento police shooting of Stephon Clark says he was shot three times in the back–not six times as the family’s private autopsy findings claimed. A toxicology report also found traces of cocaine, cannabis and codeine in Clark’s system.
Sacramento police released 52 videos and one audio file of the Stephon Clark shooting, showing several instances of officers muting their body-worn microphones and raising questions about the length of time it took law enforcement to render medical aid.
Officers “need to be conscious of the fact that literally every single person they come in contact with may be carrying a concealed firearm,” says John Jay College criminologist David Kennedy. According to Vox.com and University of Chicago criminologist John Roman, the stronger the gun control laws, the fewer police killings.
When police kill unarmed civilians, the path towards accountability begins with prosecutors. Elected to serve their communities as the chief law enforcement official, they have the means and mandate to confront the injustices that arise from systemic racism, writes the director of John Jay’s Institute for Innovation in Prosecution.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio touts a neighborhood policing program where officers get to know local residents. They aren’t the same officers who may get involved in shooting neighborhood figures they do not know.