Democrat-Gazette probes police fatal shootings | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 13, 2017

Democrat-Gazette probes police fatal shootings

Posted By on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 9:56 AM

click to enlarge deadly.jpg

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporters are in the midst of an important series on fatal shootings by police.

Arkansas — and the U.S. — need routine compilation of police use of force. Statistics are one way to identify outliers in  police practice.

With extensive FOI requests, the newspaper's reporters, Amanda Claire Curcio and Hunter Field, determined that Arkansas police had shot 135 people in six years, 67 of them fatally. During that same time, three police officers were fatally wounded and 31 reported being fired at.

In an installment today, the newspaper focused on the fact that 53 of those killed by police were black men. They made up 73.9 percent of unarmed suspects shot by police while black men comprise only 7.5 percent of the state population. Only one woman was killed by police.

The figures are likely incomplete. One prosecutor, Fletcher Long of Forrest City, refused to participate in the project. Another, Andy Riner of Mena, objected, first claiming that he viewed all police fatal shootings as homicides and they remained open in perpetuity. An open investigation is one of the exemptions for disclosure under the open records law. He eventually supplied some records.

It's a rarity when a police shooting is not found to be justified (and rare to see a conviction when wrongdoing is alleged).  Still, the figures alone don't stand as proof of either predisposition to use of force or racial bias. But a shooting can be justified even if it might have been avoidable. The Democrat-Gazette series, for example, includes the story of a prosecutor-justified shooting that followed a police effort to forcibly remove a man from his home for arrest on a misdemeanor warrant. Might there have been a better way to approach that particular arrest? (And others involving mentally ill people, others have noted.) Accountability in the form of easy to access full public record seems a good thing. But the legislative trend is running against accountability this session.

Tags: , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation