FBI data released over the past month reveals that so-called ‘justifiable homicides’ reached a record high last year, while the number of officers killed in the line of duty fell to its lowest level in decades.
According to the data, which appeared in a Monday article on theWashington Post web site, 461 American civilians were killed by on-the-job police officers in 2013, while 27 police officers were killed by civilians.
The article notes the correlation between the record killings and the militarization of American police over the same period, ‘fueled by a glut of surplus military equipment heading home from Iraq and Afghanistan.’ The FBI’s ‘justifiable homicide’ figures increase steadily around 1998, the year after the start of the US Government’s Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 program, which parcels out surplus military equipment to state and local police.
The FBI figures for ‘justifiable homicide,’ defined by the agency as ‘the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty,’ is widely acknowledged to be an undercount, according to thePost, because the methodology is not uniform from state to state. There are no comprehensive nationwide statistics on police brutality, despite the government being required to do so by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act passed in 1994. However, a Facebook page titled ‘Killed by Police,’ which posts links to news stories on police killings, has counted more than 1,450 killings by police officers since its launch on May 1, 2013…
This post was published at Lew Rockwell on November 28, 2014.