Thursday, June 11, 2015
Report: 4 police killings in 24 hours bring total to 500: Note for a Lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"
Officers in at least four states shot and killed four suspects overnight, three that were armed, authorities said Wednesday.
And cumulatively, the number of fatal police shootings has reached at least 500 this year, according to one newspaper's calculation.
• In the Bronx, Isiah Hampton, 19, was killed Wednesday morning as he attacked his ex-girlfriend with a .38-caliber handgun, according to WABC-TV, New York. She managed to escape after officers arrived and Hampton then pointed his gun at them. The woman had a wound to her arm where a bullet had grazed it.
• In Cincinnati, QuanDavier Hicks, 22, died Tuesday after pointing a loaded .22-caliber rifle at two officers who had knocked on his apartment door after receiving a complaint from a woman in the neighborhood that a man had threatened to kill her. One of the officers immediately grabbed the barrel of Hicks' gun and pushed it away from his partner; the other fired a fatal shot into Hicks' chest.
• In Des Moines, Ryan Bolinger, 28, of West Des Moines, Iowa, was killed Tuesday after acting erratically, leading officers on a slow-speed chase and then getting out of his car to charge one of the officers. The officer shot through her squad-car window to kill Bolinger, who later was found to be unarmed.
• In Tomball, Texas, about 30 miles northeast of Houston, a 45-year-old felon with outstanding warrants, whose name has not been released, was killed Tuesday after leading officers in two counties on a high-speed chase that ended in front of his grandmother's house. After he stopped, he initially pointed the weapon he was carrying at his own head and then pointed it at three officers, who shot him.
"None of us want to come to work and have to do this," Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said. "Our officers, when they use deadly force, are forced to use deadly force."
Because the reporting of fatal police shootings to the FBI is voluntary, no one knows exactly how many people die by officers' hands each year. A recent Washington Post analysis of deaths in the first five months of this year found nearly 2.6 per day, more than double the 1.1 daily that FBI shows is the average.
The Guardian in London, which is gathering its own set of data through news reports to count deaths caused by law-enforcement officers, said the number climbed to 500 with Hampton's death Wednesday.
"The use of deadly force can take many forms. ... It all has to do in how an officer perceives a situation and how they feel at the time," said Sgt. Jason Halifax of Des Moines police. "There's not a hard, fast: This is when you shoot, and this is when you don't."
In the past day, officers in the Denver suburb of Northglenn, Colo.; the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan; Hartford, Conn.; Salem, Mass.; and Upper Marlboro, Md., also have shot suspects who did not die, according to news reports.
And Houston police Officer Terry Smith, 47, was shot in the back Tuesday during a traffic stop; he was in good condition at Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute after undergoing surgery. Officials are still looking for his gunman.
In Miami, officers are looking for a 19-year-old accused of shooting at two officers who were not hit.
For Cincinnati, a city of almost 300,000 residents on the banks of the Ohio River, Tuesday night's shooting was the third involving police so far this year, equal to all of last year.
The Cincinnati chapter of Black Lives Matter, a group that formed in wake of recent fatal police shootings, issued a statement demanding a transparent investigation into Hicks' death.
"This incident has fueled righteous suspicion of the police and heightened existing tensions," its statement said.
Hicks was black; the races of the others killed were not immediately released. The group also complained about two disorderly conduct arrests of people outside his apartment after the shooting.
Neighbors were concerned and in some cases angry about what happened and why. Rumors quickly circulated that officers had kicked in Hicks' door, and some questioned why law enforcement was there in the first place.
Cincinnati police and community leaders are working to help keep the Northside neighborhood calm.
"That was unnecessary to do that to that," Sherry Drew, 43, who was Hicks' ex-girlfriend, said of the shooting. "I mean, 'Q' — he was 22 years old, but I don't see him" pulling a gun on police.