– Killings highlight epidemic of police violence in US

“In Cleveland, Ohio on November 29, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, both unarmed, were killed in a hail of 137 bullets fired by 13 officers. On December 15, Chicago police shot and killed Jamaal Moore, who was unarmed, after they struck him with a police car. On August 11, police chased down and executed Darrius Kennedy in broad daylight in New York City. The back-to-back killings of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo on July 21 and July 22 in Anaheim, California prompted angry protests and a police crackdown in which nine people were arrested.

These recent shootings are particularly savage examples of a broader social trend. Largely hidden from public view, police kill an average of between one and two people in America every day. Since the Cleveland, Ohio shootings on November 29, at least 14 people have been confirmed killed by the police in the US…

…Under circumstances where the national government has openly carried out thousands of extra-judicial killings in recent years, it should come as no surprise that a culture of impunity and indifference to democratic rights has developed among the local police forces.

Among those sections of the mainstream US media that do not present even the most egregious police shootings as entirely justified, the criticisms are inevitably framed in terms of a few “bad apples,” “rogue officers,” “racist cops,” and so on. On the contrary, the participation of some 13 officers in the Cleveland, Ohio shooting, which had all the markings of a military combat operation, points to a far more grave situation…

…The FBI does release annual statistics for a category entitled “justifiable homicide by weapon, law enforcement,” defined as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty.” This figure remained around 400 per year from 2007 to 2011. The number of such killings so far in 2012 is estimated at 525 or more.”

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