Commentary | A real look at Police Brutality


By Steven Sullivan

Know the facts about “Police Brutality”

There are 800,000 sworn Law Enforcement Officers in the nation.

They have 375,000,000 written interactions with people annually. That is over 1 million per day.

They arrest approximately 10,000,000 annually or 2.6% of the people they interact with. That means that 97% of those interactions ended peacefully. One source says that 99.95% of all interactions end peacefully. Some tickets were issued. Some warnings were issued. Some were taken into custody.

Of the 10,000,000 taken into custody annually, approximately 1,000 are killed by the police or die in their custody. That is 1 in 10,000 or 0.0001. That is almost zero. You could multiply that number by 1,000 and it would still be almost zero. So, do we really have a police brutality problem?

That 1,000 comprise of all races and ethnicities and genders.

Black people comprise approximately 330 of the 1,000 or 0.000033. Again, do we really have a systemic police brutality problem? See how close that number is to zero?

Let’s continue. Of the 330 black people that are killed by police or in their custody, only about 15 were unarmed. The remaining 315 were armed with some sort of weapon that was involved with the apprehension. So, do we really have a rampant police brutality problem when 95% of those that were killed by police had a weapon?

Every death in police custody is investigated by no less than three different agencies. The cops are removed from regular duty during the investigation. Those where the evidence shows during the investigation to have probably broken the law are referred to the DA for prosecution and are prosecuted for their crimes. Does this sound like no justice?

Now think a minute.

Do you really believe that cops get up every morning, put on the uniform and think to themselves, “I wonder who do I get to beat up or kill today?” The numbers sure do not support that claim. No cop goes out and thinks, “Hey, I am looking forward to hurting someone or better yet killing them so I can be investigated and taken off the job during the investigation.”

The whole nation was appalled by what they viewed in the video of George Floyd’s death. The cops are being held accountable. This is nothing new. However BLM would have believe otherwise. The facts do not support that claim.

Stop buying into the “rate” deception. It is a red herring used to cause division and promote a political agenda. It is based on a very small number almost zero and taken out of context to make that very small number look really large because 50% rate looks so much larger than 0.0035% with relation to the total arrested. We do not have a problem to begin with. Those cops that do break the law are prosecuted. Those that break department policy are reprimanded or fired. It seems to me that the system is working pretty well. It does not mean that police brutality does not exist today. It means that it is almost nonexistent and not a systemic problem for any group. What is being peddled by BLM, Black activists and the Democratic Party is a political agenda and not a true out of control police brutality issue.

At the end of the Chauvin Trial for the murder of George Floyd, Chauvin stood up, placed his hands be his back and was hand cuffed. There would not have been a trial if Floyd had done the same. We need to teach and train people that the battle is in the court room and not on the street. Justice comes in the court room and not on the street.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

Steven Sullivan is a resident of Ventura County

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C E Voigtsberger
C E Voigtsberger
9 days ago

Amen, amen, amen. I worked with cops of different departments for half of my adult life. Did I meet some jerks? Of course. Did I meet some jerk lawyers, judges, doctors, criminalists, litigants, both civil and criminal?

Of course, of course, of course. Who among us has not met jerks in all walks of life?

Who among has also not met some outstanding individuals in all walks of life? I just watched a video clip of two cops rescuing a driver who had managed to drive his car off the road at such high speed he ruptured the gas distribution system and set his car on fire. It was at great risk to their own personal safety that they managed to break into his car, free him and drag him away from being barbecued.

It is my opinion that all cops, even the jerks, would rather be the cops who dragged away the drunk driver than the cop who shot a 13 year old who pointed a toy gun at him after dark and whom the cop shot in self-defense.

There are pellet guns sold on the basis that they are exact replicas of centerfire guns and I defy anyone reading this to look at one of the replicas and be able to tell whether it is a pellet gun or a centerfire firearm. Especially in the exigent circumstances where you, the cop, think the person holding the pellet gun is going to shoot you. Any way should the cop subject himself to being shot by a pellet gun? They can do more than just shoot your eye out. Some pellet guns are capable and legal to take big game such as deer and pigs. If it can kill a deer, it sure as heck can kill a cop if it hits where his ballistic vest isn’t.

It is my opinion that the biggest problem with law enforcement is the enforcement of laws against use of perception altering substances.

I have long personally advocated for the abolishment of personal use of any such substances. While I don’t want you operating on me under the influence of such substances, nor flying an airplane, nor driving a tractor-trailer rig nor driving an automobile nor performing any other activity that places others in danger, as long as you consume such substances on your own time in the privacy of your own home, to channel Rhett Butler, “Frankly, I don’t give a dam” (Nota bene: the original’s expression was, I don’t give a tinker’s dam.” The reference was to a mud bank that an itinerant tinker (a mender of pots and pans) would build in a local ditch or stream while he mended the village’s pots and pans. It washed away in the first rainfall and thus was a worthless construction after its use was finished) It was an old Irish expression and rural English expression. It was actually an expression of contempt as opposed as some think a curse. That is a different damn.

We went this routine in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century before finally wising up and getting our noses out of other people’s business. It was called PROHIBITION and everyone admits it was an utter failure.

The so-called war on drugs is going down the tubes just as our misadventure in Vietnam and numerous other misadventures. And it is having the same results as prohibition of the use of alcoholic beverages.

The war on drugs has resulted in numerous poorly contemplated rulings from the federal supremes. It has resulted in an abrogation of our right against unlawful seizures and searches. The No-Knock warrant is a result of such ill-conceived rulings and again flowed from the war on drugs. Property seizures are in the same category, where the cops can seize property and money without filing charges based on an assumption that if you have a large amount of cash you are guilty of dealing drugs. Totally ignoring that the use of cash in large amounts is also used in absolutely legal transactions.

I watched judges accept bald-faced lies in court uttered in support of probable cause for a search. Such acceptance creates a contempt for the whole process. I heard the same story so often in court that I jokingly suggesting that we draw up a form that could be filled in by checking off the officer’s testimony.

“Officer ________ upon observing 1) vehicle’s taillights out; 2) license plate light out; 3) bald rear tires; 4)license plate not properly secured to vehicle and several other Probable Cause vehicle violations.”

The form could then go on to describe with multiple choices what the officer observed upon approaching the vehicle which were always the same. We could have completed the preliminary examination transcript by the end of the hearing. Would have saved the county a bundle of money.

Just so one doesn’t think I am an aging hippie who burned his brains out during the drug infested 60s, unlike several recent POTUSes, I have never just tried any perception altering substance other than alcohol, never ever. I think people who start down that path are incredibly stupid but that is still not against the law. We are allowed to still do incredibly stupid things without violating any law, although the number of stupid acts not violating some law is shrinking every day as the federal government encroaches more and more into our daily lives. And as seen in the recent and continuing circus, states and cities are also extending themselves into their daily lives more and more.

Actually that is insulting to professional circuses which only put on carefully planed and rehearsed acts with plenty of safeguards, unlike every level of government which blundered about like an enraged bull elephant in must. It’s a biological term. Look it up.