When Police Kill (Paperback)
"A remarkable book."--Malcolm Gladwell, San Francisco ChronicleDeaths of civilians at the hands of on-duty police are in the national spotlight as never before. How many killings by police occur annually? What circumstances provoke police to shoot to kill? Who dies? The lack of answers to these basic questions points to a crisis in American government that urgently requires the attention of policy experts. When Police Kill is a groundbreaking analysis of the use of lethal force by police in the United States and how its death toll can be reduced. Franklin Zimring compiles data from federal records, crowdsourced research, and investigative journalism to provide a comprehensive, fact-based picture of how, when, where, and why police resort to deadly force. Of the 1,100 killings by police in the United States in 2015, he shows, 85 percent were fatal shootings and 95 percent of victims were male. The death rates for African Americans and Native Americans are twice their share of the population. Civilian deaths from shootings and other police actions are vastly higher in the United States than in other developed nations, but American police also confront an unusually high risk of fatal assault. Zimring offers policy prescriptions for how federal, state, and local governments can reduce killings by police without risking the lives of officers. Criminal prosecution of police officers involved in killings is rare and only necessary in extreme cases. But clear administrative rules could save hundreds of lives without endangering police officers. "Roughly 1,000 Americans die each year at the hands of the police...The civilian body count does not seem to be declining, even though violent crime generally and the on-duty deaths of police officers are down sharply...Zimring's most explosive assertion--which leaps out...--is that police leaders don't care...To paraphrase the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre, every country gets the police it deserves."
--Bill Keller, New York Times "If you think for one second that the issue of cop killings doesn't go to the heart of the debate about gun violence, think again. Because what Zimring shows is that not only are most fatalities which occur at the hands of police the result of cops using guns, but the number of such deaths each year is undercounted by more than half ... A] valuable and important book...It needs to be read."
--Mike Weisser, Huffington Post