When Police Kill

When Police Kill

by Franklin E. Zimring


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Deaths of civilians at the hands of on-duty police are in the national spotlight as never before. When Police Kill is a groundbreaking analysis of the use of lethal force by police in the United States and how its death toll can be reduced.

“Roughly 1,000 Americans die each year at the hands of the police…The civilian body count does not seem to be declining, even though violent crime generally and the on-duty deaths of police officers are down sharply…Zimring’s most explosive assertion—which leaps out…—is that police leaders don’t care…To paraphrase the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre, every country gets the police it deserves.”
—Bill Keller, New York Times

“If you think for one second that the issue of cop killings doesn’t go to the heart of the debate about gun violence, think again. Because what Zimring shows is that not only are most fatalities which occur at the hands of police the result of cops using guns, but the number of such deaths each year is undercounted by more than half!…[A]valuable and important book…It needs to be read.”
—Mike Weisser, Huffington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674986800
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/12/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 298,875
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Franklin E. Zimring is William G. Simon Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Part I The Character and Causes of Police Killings

1 The Double Transformation of Police Killings in America 3

2 Killings by Police: The Numbers Game 23

3 Who Dies, Where, and Why? 41

4 Only in America? Police Killings in Other Modern Nations 74

5 The Problem of Police Safety 91

6 Trends over Time in Killings of and by Police in the United States 105

7 Public Costs and Consequences 118

Part II Prevention and Control of Police Killings

8 The Missing Links: Reporting, Documentation, and Evaluation in a Federal System 143

9 Mission Impossible? The Limits and Potential of Criminal Law in Police Violence 166

10 Cops and Cameras 202

11 The Heart of the Matter: Governance and Training for Local Policing 219

12 American Possibilities, American Limits 246

Appendix 1 Elements of a National Reporting System with Required Information and Contacts for Police Shootings and Injury Reports from Departments of Police 253

Appendix 2 Notes on Killings of and by the Police in Canada 257

Appendix 3 The Guardian Six-Month Sample 259

Notes 287

References 289

Acknowledgments 295

Index 299

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