Open Thread about Policing in America

With the latest shooting in Chicago and the on-going Derek Chauvin trial, cops and guns are on everyone’s mind. Got opinions about policing in our country? Chat here.

8 thoughts on “Open Thread about Policing in America

  1. Here are some people I’ve been reading lately:

    (Already posted this in the link thread. This guy says he is an ex-cop.)

    Peter Moskos is a cop-turned-academic who writes on crime and policing.

    I also value Zaid Jilani’s insights on crime and policing–he treats crime and neighborhood safety as social justice issues, as they make a big difference with regard to the quality of life of the poor.

    The shooting of the 13-year-old does not seem to have been culpable on the part of the police: it was after 2:30 AM, there had been gunfire earlier, the kid had had a gun in his hand, he twisted suddenly, and while he did drop the gun before he was shot, it was dark and the whole thing happened really fast–the cop probably didn’t know before he fired that the kid had dropped the gun. The 13-year-old was in the company of a 21-year-old who had apparently been firing the gun earlier.

    “Roman, the 21-year old man with Toledo at the time, was arrested and later charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm, felony unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, felony endangerment of a child, and a probation violation warrant.”

    I wonder how many days of in-person school that kid had had over the past year, this being Chicago.


    1. “As part of the investigation, prosecutors said Toledo’s right hand tested positive for gunshot residue and a Ruger 9MM semi-automatic pistol was recovered near the fence where Toledo was killed.”

      Both the 13-year-old and the 21-year-old seem to have been firing the gun that was recovered, presumably before the police arrived.


  2. Here’s a 2019 piece from Zaid Jilani on the actual stats surrounding police shootings:

    ““Black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed, and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement without accountability and without justice,” then-Texas Democratic congressman and now presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told an audience last year.”

    “The definition of “frightening” is subjective, but as the Washington Post noted later, three unarmed black teenagers aged 18 and under were shot and killed by police between 2015 and 2018. During the same time period, “six teenagers and three children who were white or Hispanic—and unarmed—were fatally shot [by police].””

    “If you zoom out, and look at killings of African American minors outside the context of police actions, the picture is actually far more grim. “Homicide is the leading cause of death for non-Hispanic black male teenagers,” notes the Center for Disease Control, while accidents remain the top cause of death for teens from other racial backgrounds. The homicide rate in 2017 for black teens was almost 16 times higher than the rate among white teens.”

    “A recent study published in the journal Demography found that 17 percent of the reduction in the life expectancy gap between white and black men could be attributed to the reduction in homicides that occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s.”

    “According to the Washington Post’s police-shooting database, 223 African Americans were killed in police-involved shootings in 2017.”

    “But that same year, we saw 7,851 black victims of homicide, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. That’s a 35-to-1 ratio of killings between the two tallies.”

    If black lives matter, homicide victims’ lives have to matter, too, not just victims of police shootings.

    “There’s some good news out there, too. The New York Police Department shot 341 people in 1971 and just 19 in 2017. The city is much safer than it was then. In 1972, there were 1,691 murders in the city while in 2018 there were only 289.”

    We’re in the process of throwing those gains away, of course…



    “In another high-profile situation, prosecutors said Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old accused of firing a gun and then handing it to 13-year-old Adam Toledo moments before Chicago police fatally shot the teen on March 29, has repeatedly violated the terms of probation in a gun case.

    “Roman went on probation on the gun charge in July 2019 after prosecutors agreed to drop a series of other felonies in a plea deal. According to court records, the state’s attorney’s office filed probation violation motions against Roman in December 2019, March 2020, and August 2020. He was never given a new sentence despite his alleged violations.”

    Had Roman been in jail, maybe he wouldn’t have been around to hand a gun to Adam Toledo, and maybe Adam Toledo would be alive today?

    From gelasticjew’s article:

    “Police had received multiple calls about a man in the park with a gun shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday. They confronted Delgado and fired less-lethal, 40-millimeter munitions at him before the fatal shooting.”

    “Investigators recovered what appeared to be a replica firearm with an orange tip on it, sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday.”

    A white 16-year-old boy was shot to death recently in MD after brandishing what turned out to be an airsoft gun. “After he was shot, a second witness told law enforcement that he pulled out a knife and stood up. The Trooper says he fired his gun again when the teen declined to drop the knife.”


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