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17 June 2017


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Happy Father's Day Mark.

Chris Tyler

Your post made me interested in finding statistics on police fatalities from firearms, including officer deaths and citizen deaths. The statistics seem relevant to the reasonableness standard to me. According to NLEOMF, 21 officers died in firearms-related events in 2016. I've found this number in other sources, and it seems reliable. If anything, I'm concerned that firearms-related events could include more shootings, making the number an over-reported for my interests. For greater context, there are at least 700,000 local police officers in the US< according to BCC news. So, the chance of firearms-related death for police officers is about 3 per 100,000.

For comparison, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports 31,075 US fatalities in 2010, including homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. That's a rate of 10 per 100,000. Sixty-percent of these deaths are suicides. Excluding suicides, the rate of gun-related fatalities is roughly the same between the average US citizen and police officers.

Statistics on the number of victims of police shootings is trickier. The FBI maintains a database, but participation is voluntary. These numbers indicate about 400 fatalities a year, as reported by USA TODAY . Since participation is voluntary, the numbers are considered to be an underestimate. So, starting in 2015, the Washington Post started their own database, based of of news reports, public records and so on. They report 991 shootings in 2015, 963 in 2016, and 484 YTD so far in 2017. (Given that the FBI statistics have only 750 of 17,000 agencies, I would have expected a much larger number. Simple scaling by the fraction of agencies in the FBI survey would give 9000 fatalities.) That's 140 police shootings per 100,000 police officers. Police officers shoot more than 46 people for every police officer that is shot.

I don't pretend that the statistics address the question of what reasonableness is.

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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