Despite what the media would have you believe, 2015 is actually the safest year for police officers in 20 years. Meanwhile, police killings of citizens are at a 40-year high.
While citizens and social justice groups seeking to curtail the trend of growing police brutality and state-sanctioned murder, police supporters around the country are seeking to debunk these reports with a combination of marketing, cherry-picked statistics, and misplaced nationalism formerly reserved for members of the military.
The following five graphics combined show how serious the problem of growing police violence has become, and explain the false-narrative that has been constructed to convince America to ignore the problem:
1. 200 fewer police died on the job under Barack Obama than under Ronald Reagan.
In an effort to be seen as pro-police and anti-Obama, unlikely GOP candidate and Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker wrote a piece on the website Hot Air where he blamed President Obama for the “disturbing trend of police officers being murdered on the job,” and that because of his “racially divisive attitude” that the country no longer resembles “the America I grew up in.” However, a review of the decreasing number of police being killed every year shows that when a young Scott Walker was growing up under President Reagan, there were almost twice as many police killed on the job than under the current administration.
2. Bartending is far more dangerous than being a police officer.
With the rise in the reports of people being killed by police, much has been made of the danger police face every day in the line of duty. It has become the easy explanation in an attempt to justify the erosion of civil rights in the name of job safety for those who “protect and serve.” But a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that last year almost 4,600 Americans were killed while working, but only 79 were police officers. That figure places police officers outside of the top 15 most dangerous jobs in America, behind garbage collectors, taxi drivers, and bartenders.
3. Police are killed by more white people than black people.
After the much publicized deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, the mainstream media was quick to report that these deaths, as well as the seemingly high number of black men across the nation killed by police, was due to a perceived desire to kill police rather than surrender peacefully when confronted. However, a report by the FBI detailing a racial breakdown of the number of people who kill police show that the majority of those were white. Over the last three years, of the 147 police officers killed by people, only 56 of the assailants were black, even though 70 percent to 80 percent of police interactions are with non-white citizens.
4. Convicted citizens are 400 percent more likely to go to jail than convicted police officers.
When police are charged with misconduct or the killing of citizens, there is a tremendous double standard as to how they are prosecuted, and sentenced. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 1/3rd of charges against police lead to a conviction, while the conviction rate for the general population rate is more than double that. Additionally, of the officers actually convicted, only12 percent are sent to prison, while the rest of the country has an incarceration rate 400% higher upon conviction.
5. The US government significantly undercounts the number of citizens killed by police.
For more than a decade, government agencies have stated that there is no hard data to determine how many citizens are killed by police across the country every year. The only annual report that has been made available is the FBI report of “Justifiable Homicides” which has shown about 400 deaths per year since 2009 attributed to “The killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty.”
But after the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year, the combination of public pressure and relentless media scrutiny led to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to release a report detailing that at least 928 people have been killed by police annually over the last eight years — more than doubling the number reported by the FBI.