There is an expression in police work: “If you weren’t there, you don’t know what happened.” Cops know you need all available information to make a good judgment. When a cop sees a lady “sawed in half” on a stage, he/she understands that what is being presented is a carefully crafted illusion. They understand that seeing a brief video, even one that was “shown on television thousands of times,” doesn’t necessarily provide proof of what happened.
The Rodney King case brought acquittals for the police when the first jury saw all of the available video, but there was a conviction when the second jury saw a carefully edited version of the same incident.
Lately, we have been seeing videos of police interactions with civilians that have ended badly. Apparently, far too many people who must believe professional wrestling is real and magicians really do cut the lady in half are being heard from. They reason that since they saw these things, they must be true.
In the Eric Garner case, many people couldn’t be bothered looking any further than the three minute cell phone video presented to them by a media with a recognizable bias against cops. Fifty eight witnesses and six weeks of testimony meant nothing, so “Don’t tell me; I saw the 3 minute video” prevailed.
While we don’t have the exact number of police–civilian interactions that occur each year nationwide, there are some numbers from the New York City Police Department that give us an idea.
The NYPD has 34,500 officers; among residents, commuters, and tourists they deal with over 10 million people each day. Last year, the Department had 25 million interactions with the public that led to only 5500 civilian complaints (that’s 1/5th of one percent).
In 2013, NYPD cops shot just 81 people; that’s once every 330,000 interactions. Experts say we have a 1 in 3000 chance of being hit by lightning, which means we are 1,100 times more likely to be hit by lightning than shot by a New York cop.
Since there is no reason to think things are much different elsewhere, these numbers tell us a lot. They say cops don’t hunt people; they help people regardless of race, creed, or ethnic background. And submission is the best policy when dealing with the police.
These numbers also tell us those who believe the lady is actually being sawed in half, Hulk Hogan really is a champion wrestler, and a three-minute video is all they need to make a judgment about police officer conduct ought not be listened to while serious people are trying to decide the matter.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom