Philadelphia Police Department Adds Police Shooting Statistics, Statistics to Defend Shootings, to Website

if you got an alt text would you know to click through?
Earlier this month, the
Philadelphia Police Department
information on officer-involved shootings
to its website
, something the police commissioner, Charles
Ramsey, spoke
to the local CBS affiliate
about yesterday, explaining that it
was an “inside look” that he thought was “long overdue,” insisting
that “[w]hatever the situations may be, we’re not ashamed or afraid
to put out that information.”  Earlier this year,  Ramsey

the Department of Justice to review the department’s use
of deadly force incidents and policies.

The information on police shootings on the department website
is, of course, presented within a context that tries to justify the
practice as a whole. “Officer involved shootings do not occur in a
vacuum.  They occur in neighborhoods where pockets of violence
exist,” the website explains, presenting two maps of police
integrated with non-police shootings and the
with “gun crimes.” The website also provides a chart of

“police discharge statistics”
that includes how many police
units are dispatched in a given year (more than 2.5 million through
September this year), how many criminal offenses occur in a given
year (125,479 through September this year), how many people have
been shot, excluding “justifiable citizen/police shootings,
suicides, accidentals” (854 through September this year) and how
many firearms the department seized (“recovered”) in a given year
(2,666 through September this year).  It also includes how
many police officers the department says were assaulted in a given
year (589 through September), as well as how many were assaulted by
someone using a weapon (169 through September). The latter number
is broken out further for injuries (32 this year) and deaths (0
this year). In the last seven years, 6 officers were killed. The
department doesn’t provide a similar break down of injuries and
deaths for the 589 purported assaults not involving a weapon so far
this year.

Actual police discharge statistics in the “police discharge
statistics” chart include “police shooting incidents at offender”
(34 through September of this year), broken down further to how
many killed (11 this year) and how many injured (19 this year).
It’s not clear whether the department treats all police shooting
victims as “offenders,” or whether there are more shootings
involving non-offenders (the summaries of the shootings provided on
the website indicate all police shooting victims are considered
offenders). The website also, perhaps most importantly, provides a
brief summary of the 34 police shootings involving shooting at
offenders. Of those 34, the DA declined to take action in 8 and is
still considering the other 26. Not one shooting involves any
injury to the police officer. One of the shootings that did not
involve fatalities also did not involve an arrest of the
“offender,” in that
police shot at someone with a “bulge” in their sweatshirt
pocket that turned out not to be a weapon. Unsurprisingly the DA
declined to take action against the officers. The 34 shootings are
provided numbers going up to 57; the website explains they’re
non-sequential because the department didn’t include “accidental
shootings or animal incidents” (so much for transparency). We can
infer, then, that there have also been at least 23 shootings that
were either identified by police as accidental or involved the
shooting of animals.

Peruse the data, which the Philly Police Department promises to
update quarterly,

from Hit & Run

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