The recurrent expression of outrage by critics and the mainstream media about the use of deadly force by police officers against unarmed individuals fails to recognize that since 2000 at least 57 suspects have taken officers’ weapons and murdered the police officer with it.
That means that about every three months in the USA, one officer’s family gets a knock on the door and is told that a husband, father, son, or daughter won’t be coming home ever again. Although you won’t see a rally in the street when it happens again, or see five hours a night of news coverage dedicated to the ongoing developments surrounding the incident, it will surely happen again.
While statistics for officers murdered with their own weapons are difficult to research, we know from the Los Angeles Police Protection League, the FBI and www.odmp.org that between 2000-10, at least 51 officers were killed by alleged perpetrators who used the officer’s own gun. Four officers were killed in 2011, one officer was killed in 2013. Moreover, so far in 2014, it has been confirmed that Johnson City (New York) Police Officer David Smith was murdered in March with his own weapon. Smith had served in the police department for over 18 years.
In Smith’s case, according to the Officers Down Memorial Page report, before he was able to exit his patrol car or radio for help, the alleged assailant was able to disarm Officer Smith and shoot him while he was still in the patrol car.
Perhaps those that are quick to jump to conclusions in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the death of Ezell Brown in Los Angeles could show some restraint. All the facts are not in and a rush to judgment may be unfair to the innocent as well as damaging to local store owners.