November 28, 2015

One reason American cops kill more than European ones

Huffington Post - Racism alone can't explain why non-Latino white Americans are 26 times more likely to die by police gunfire than Germans. And racism alone doesn't explain why states like Montana, West Virginia and Wyoming - where both perpetrators and victims of deadly force are almost always white - exhibit relatively high rates of police lethality.

An explanation may be found in a key distinguishing characteristic of American policing - its localism.

Each of America's 15,500 municipal and county departments is responsible for screening applicants, imposing discipline and training officers when a new weapon like Tasers are adopted. Some under=resourced departments may perform some of these critical tasks poorly.

To make matters worse, cash-strapped local governments like Ferguson, Missouri's may see tickets, fines, impounding fees and asset forfeitures as revenue sources and push for more involuntary police encounters.

More than a quarter of deadly force victims were killed in towns with fewer than 25,000 people despite the fact that only 17% of the US population lives in such towns.

By contrast, as a rule, towns and cities in Europe do not finance their own police forces. The municipal police that do exist are generally unarmed and lack arrest authority.

As a result, the only armed police forces that citizens routinely encounter in Europe are provincial (the counterpart to state police in the US), regional (Swiss cantons) or national.

What's more, centralized policing makes it possible to train and judge all armed officers according to the same use-of-force guidelines. It also facilitates the rapid translation of insights about deadly force prevention into enforceable national mandates.


Anonymous said...

Well... if American policing was any more, uh... 'centrally organized' than it is ... the killing would be on an even vaster scale than has been achieved so far. Due to efficiency just for starters.

But the thing is, it already IS culturally well organized on a common theme, that being that 'Americans' ( north) are off -the- charts more disturbed/ damaged, & clueless than most Europeans at this point.
Cops being a cross-sectional sample of us all... and thus handicapped as well , they are faithfully representative of OUR rotten core devotion to swift , brutal, and thoughtless punishment as a handy treatment for everything & anything having to do with human behavior and social relations.
So, it is logical that blind official violence easily applied, becomes the handy tool that every contestant can either use OR be destroyed by, maybe both , as time passes.

Boots- on -the- ground being just a euphemism , we are reminded by events that the expression can effectively refer to either hired OR amateur killers on the loose , lack of proper uniform being no bar to lethality.-JJ ( Detroit )

Anonymous said...

I think a more important distinction between European and American cops is that the European ones tend to be policing in an environment of ethnic homogeneity: all police are less likely to abuse people who look and sound like that do. German cops were notoriously rough on Turkish residents when I lived in Berlin but were easy going with anyone who looked "white" to them.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, I don't know, the European police are trained to fire to maim, not kill when possible.

bc thinks it shouldn't be deadly force, but stop force.

p.s. IIRC, the first shot by the recently charged w/ murder Chicago police person was to the head. Many of the other 15 wouldn't have killed.

Anonymous said...

There is another issue as well. A number of American police receive training in Israel, where, most likely, they are taught to treat potential arrestees like the Israeli police treat Palestinians...!