Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage
Analysis contradicts widespread views about racial targets
Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department’s Western District station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray on Tuesday in Baltimore. Mr. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested.
Body cameras will not boost police-community relations (video):
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
That quote usually causes smoke to pour out of liberals’ heads … but a recent incident in Chicago proves just how true it is.
Over the past weekend, a criminal named Everardo Custodio tried to commit mass murder.
Police say he pointed an illegal handgun at a sidewalk full of people in Logan Square andopened fire on the crowd.
That incident could have been another deadly tragedy in one of the country’s most dangerous cities.
This time, however, things were different.
A 47-year-old Uber taxi service driver had just dropped off a passenger when he saw Custodio open fire on innocent people.
Instead of taking cover, he took action.
The anonymous Uber driver decided that he wasn’t going to stand by while innocent people died. He pulled out a concealed shotgun from his car and dropped the rampaging criminal with several well-placed shots.
According to authorities, the heroic driver has a concealed carry permit and was carrying his firearm legally in his vehicle.
There were no charges filed against the armed Good Samaritan, and the man “was acting in self-defense and in the defense of others,” according to Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn.
The criminal, meanwhile, was taken to a hospital where he was put under arrest. He’s facing charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and illegal possession of a firearm.
For many years, Chicago has had some of the most draconian gun laws in the nation. Incidents like this, however, are showing us exactly why people need the right to defend themselves — and in this case, defend an entire crowd.
Criminals bent on murder don’t follow laws. Unarmed, innocent people are a crowd of just victims. When responsible citizens can be armed, however, they have a fighting chance to defend their lives.
Florida Sheriff: ‘Surrender peacefully or You can guarantee we’re going to shoot you!’
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd responded defiantly to a reporter on Friday when he was asked if he “regrets” saying that his officers were prepared for a “gunfight” with a group of dangerous murder suspects.
“I think everybody understands the gravity of what happened and the urgency and the response that you took,” the reporter began. “Some of the comments you made last night about shooting the suspects, possibly, and the comments today about ‘ready for a gunfight’ — was that in the heat of the moment? Do you have any regret about that?”
The sheriff immediately took a stern tone in responding to the question.
The American firearms industry is as healthy as ever, seeing an unprecedented surge that has sent production of guns soaring to more than 10.8 million manufactured in 2013 alone — double the total of just three years earlier.
The 2013 surge — the latest for which the government has figures — came in the first full year after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, signaling that the push for stricter gun controls, strongly backed by President Obama, did little to chill the industry despite the passage of stricter laws in states such as New York, Maryland, Connecticut and California.
Indeed, interest in guns appears to be at an all-time high in California, which shattered its previous record for gun-purchase background checks last month, with nearly 200,000 processed, suggesting a vibrant firearms market in the country’s largest state.
Industry backers say they aren’t surprised firearms buyers and manufacturers alike have responded to the national gun control debate by making and purchasing more.
“The surge in firearms sales in 2013 reflects both a long-term upward trend in shooting sports participation and [a] particular concern that year that law-abiding gun owners and those interested in purchasing a firearm for the first time could face tougher restrictions affecting access to and selection of firearms,” said Mike Bazinet, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry group.
Little more than two years after the Sandy Hook shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 schoolchildren and six faculty at the school, the staying power of the industry is striking.
Despite Mr. Obama’s personal appeal for stricter laws, efforts to impose new background checks and to ban military-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines failed at the federal level in 2013. The Democratic-led Senate blocked those changes in a filibuster, and the GOP-controlled House never even took up any legislation.
Mr. Obama was left to move ahead on his own, signing more than two dozen executive orders and memos tweaking federal enforcement priorities, urging safe gun ownership and boosting the focus on mental health. He also nominated B. Todd Jones to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — but two years later, Mr. Jones has quit the agency after a bungled effort to ban a popular type of rifle ammunition.
Some states did move forward in the wake of Newtown, including Connecticut, where Sandy Hook was located. Colorado, Maryland, New York and California also enacted restrictions.
Still to be seen is what effect those tougher state laws will have on manufacturers. Several companies signaled they would flee states where they no longer felt welcome and shift production to states that are seen as more gun-friendly, but those moves came too late to be reflected in the 2013 data, which is the most recent available. ATF releases data after a one-year gap.
Beretta, which produced nearly 350,000 firearms at its Accokeek, Maryland, plant in 2013, said last year it is moving to Tennessee.
A spokeswoman for the company didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Several gun control groups also didn’t respond to messages seeking comment on the manufacturing statistics and what they mean for the state of the debate.
Surging under Obama
The biggest change in production has come under President Obama. From 2001 to 2007, gun production held steady at between 3 million and 4 million units a year. It topped 4 million in 2008 but shot to 5.6 million in 2009, held steady in 2010 and then spiked to 8.6 million guns in 2012 and a record 10.8 million in 2013, according to ATF data.
Researchers: Cops 25 Times Less Likely To Shoot Blacks Than Whites
Officers typically hesitate when shooting black suspects, according to researchers
Cops are 25 times less likely to shoot unarmed blacks than whites or Hispanics, according to a little-known study which makes the South Carolina police shooting of an unarmed, fleeing black man even more egregious than before, if that’s even possible.
The study by Washington State University-Spokane, which barely received any news coverage, found that police were more likely to hesitate when shooting a black suspect due to “real-world concern over discipline, liability or public disapproval.”
“We found that [the all-white] participants took longer to shoot black suspects than white or Hispanic suspects,” the researchers reported. “In addition, where errors were made, participants across experiments were more likely to shoot unarmed white suspects than unarmed black or Hispanic suspects, and were more likely to fail to shoot armed black suspects than armed white or Hispanic suspects.”
“In sum, this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring black suspects in their decisions to shoot.”
The researchers gave 36 white police officers a Glock 21 modified to shoot a laser beam and had them take part in a series of 10 “highly realistic” video scenarios based on actual encounters with suspects in which police were assaulted or killed.
“Black, white and Hispanic suspects appeared in the scenarios proportional to their involvement in actual attacks on officers, as compiled in FBI statistics,” Policeone.com said about the study. “Suspects were unarmed in about a third of the scenarios.”
Not only did the officers take significantly longer to shoot black suspects, but they were also “25 times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than they were to shoot unarmed white suspects,” the researchers stated.
While this study shouldn’t be used to discount the numerous police shootings of non-threatening black suspects, especially after S.C. officer Michael T. Slager shot a fleeing, unarmed black man on Saturday, it does reveal that many cops fear being publicly crucified or labeled racist for justifiably shooting a suspect.
And this fear is also keeping a lot of would-be police officers from pursuing careers in law enforcement.
“I think they realize that what they do would be so scrutinized to the point it’s not worth the trouble, and it’s not worth the headache … to become involved in the field,” West Virginia sheriff Mike Rutherford told the The Charleston Gazette. “Quite often, people question you and call you everything under the sun, including a racist, simply because you make an arrest.”
WASHINGTON — A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken hisstun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled. The North Charleston mayor announced the state charges at a news conference Tuesday evening.
The shooting came on the heels of high-profile instances of police officers’ using lethal force in New York, Cleveland, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere. The deaths have set off a national debate over whether the police are too quick to use force, particularly in cases involving black men.
A White House task force has recommended a host of changes to the nation’s police policies, and President Obama sent Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to cities around the country to try to improve police relations with minority neighborhoods.
North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city, with a population of about 100,000. African-Americans make up about 47 percent of residents, and whites account for about 37 percent. The Police Department is about 80 percent white, according to data collected by the Justice Department in 2007, the most recent period available.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said during the news conference. “And if you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”
The shooting unfolded after Officer Slager stopped the driver of a Mercedes-Benz with a broken taillight, according to police reports. Mr. Scott ran away, and Officer Slager chased him into a grassy lot that abuts a muffler shop. He fired his Taser, an electronic stun gun, but it did not stop Mr. Scott, according to police reports.
Moments after the struggle, Officer Slager reported on his radio: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser,” according to police reports.
But the video, which was taken by a bystander and provided to The New York Times by the Scott family’s lawyer, presents a different account. The video begins in the vacant lot, apparently moments after Officer Slager fired his Taser. Wires, which carry the electrical current from the stun gun, appear to be extending from Mr. Scott’s body as the two men tussle and Mr. Scott turns to run.
Something — it is not clear whether it is the stun gun — is either tossed or knocked to the ground behind the two men, and Officer Slager draws his gun, the video shows. When the officer fires, Mr. Scott appears to be 15 to 20 feet away and fleeing. He falls after the last of eight shots.
The officer then runs back toward where the initial scuffle occurred and picks something up off the ground. Moments later, he drops an object near Mr. Scott’s body, the video shows.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state’s criminal investigative body, has begun an inquiry into the shooting. The F.B.I. and the Justice Department, which has opened a string of civil rights investigations into police departments under Mr. Holder, is also investigating.
The Supreme Court has held that an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that the suspect “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”
Officer Slager served in the Coast Guard before joining the force five years ago, his lawyer said. The police chief of North Charleston did not return repeated calls. Because police departments are not required to release data on how often officers use force, it was not immediately clear how often police shootings occurred in North Charleston, a working-class community adjacent to the tourist destination of Charleston.
Mr. Scott had been arrested about 10 times, mostly for failing to pay child support or show up for court hearings, according to The Post and Couriernewspaper of Charleston. He was arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon, the newspaper reported. Mr. Scott’s brother, Anthony, said he believed Mr. Scott had fled from the police on Saturday because he owed child support.
“He has four children; he doesn’t have some type of big violent past or arrest record,” said Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Mr. Scott’s family. “He had a job; he was engaged. He had back child support and didn’t want to go to jail for back child support.”
Mr. Stewart said the coroner had told him that Mr. Scott was struck five times — three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear — with at least one bullet entering his heart. It is not clear whether Mr. Scott died immediately. (The coroner’s office declined to make the report available to The Times.)
Police reports say that officers performed CPR and delivered first aid to Mr. Scott. The video shows that for several minutes after the shooting, Mr. Scott remained face down with his hands cuffed behind his back. A second officer arrives, puts on blue medical gloves and attends to Mr. Scott, but is not shown performing CPR. As sirens wail in the background, a third officer later arrives, apparently with a medical kit, but is also not seen performing CPR.
The debate over police use of force has been propelled in part by videos like the one in South Carolina. In January, prosecutors in Albuquerque charged two police officers with murder for shooting a homeless man in a confrontation that was captured by an officer’s body camera. Federal prosecutors are investigating the death of Eric Garner, who died last year in Staten Island after a police officer put him in a chokehold, an episode that a bystander captured on video. A video taken in Cleveland shows the police shooting a 12-year-old boy, Tamir Rice, who was carrying a fake gun in a park. A White House policing panel recommended that police departments put more video cameras on their officers.
Mr. Scott’s brother said his mother had called him on Saturday, telling him that his brother had been shot by a Taser after a traffic stop. “You may need to go over there and see what’s going on,” he said his mother told him. When he arrived at the scene of the shooting, officers told him that his brother was dead, but he said they had no explanation for why. “This just doesn’t sound right,” he said in an interview. “How do you lose your life at a traffic stop?”
Anthony Scott said he last saw his brother three weeks ago at a family oyster roast. “We hadn’t hung out like that in such a long time,” Mr. Scott said. “He kept on saying over and over again how great it was.”
At the roast, Mr. Scott got to do two of the things he enjoyed most: tell jokes and dance. When one of Mr. Scott’s favorite songs was played, he got excited. “He jumped up and said, ‘That’s my song,’ and he danced like never before,” his brother said.
Ben Rothenberg contributed reporting from North Charleston, S.C. Kitty Bennett and Sarah Cohen contributed research.
Concealed Carrier Shoots Car Thief Who Sped Away With Victim On The Hood [VIDEO]
An off-duty city worker in Georgia likely helped save a woman who was stuck on the hood of her car after she was carjacked on Friday.
The surreal scene was captured on surveillance video from Fast Track Car Wash in Smyrna, near Atlanta.
The video shows a woman vacuuming her car when a teenage suspect hops out of a red minivan with several other men inside. The suspect is seen sliding into the woman’s car. He got behind the wheel and slammed the car, a white Honda, into reverse. The car owner jumped on the hood, but that didn’t deter the carjacker who sped up as he drove out of the view of the camera.
The woman was reportedly screaming for help as the suspect sped past several bystanders, including an off-duty Smyrna city worker.
Luckily, that man, who is also captured on camera, was carrying a concealed gun at the time. He chased after the Honda and fired through the window, hitting the suspect in the shoulder.
The suspect, who is from Atlanta, was arrested and taken to the hospital where he was treated. Police are looking for his accomplices in the minivan.
“I’m glad that guy was here with the gun to shoot that man in the shoulder, because that lady could have been seriously injured,” one witness told WSB-TV.
“If that guy didn’t shoot, she probably would end up losing her life,” another witness, Tasha Orr, told the news station. “He came by with the car. He picked up speed. She was on the hood, and I saw her starting to get off the hood. He picked up speed.”
7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Seven people were injured, some critically, during an early-morning spray of gunfire Saturday at a spring break party on the Florida Panhandle, police said. An Alabama man was quickly apprehended and charged with attempted murder.
Multiple 911 calls flooded in just before 1 a.m., reporting the shootings at the house party in Panama City Beach, and deputies arriving on the scene found a sprawling crime scene with victims inside the home, outside and across the street from it, and in the street’s median, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office said.
Officers set up a perimeter and found a suspect matching witnesses’ description. David Jamichael Daniels, 22, of Mobile, Alabama, was charged with seven counts of attempted murder and jailed awaiting a first court appearance. A .40-caliber handgun believed to have been used was found in the yard of a nearby home.
The sheriff’s office said several of the victims were students from Alabama A&M University in Panama City Beach for spring break.
At least three were critically injured: Kearria Freed, 20, who was shot in the head; Devanta Moore, 21, who was shot in the chest; and Henton Franklin, 22, who was shot in the side. Three others were listed in stable condition: Jacole Young, 22, who police said was shot in the back three times; Kelli Curry, 21, who was shot in the leg; and Tykeria Ethridge, 22, who was shot in the neck and shoulder.
A seventh victim — Anesia Powell, 20 — was shot in the left arm, chest, and knee, and was undergoing surgery Saturday. No condition was given.