On Monday morning Icelandic police responded to an apartment building where it was reported that a man was making threats to neighbors. It has been reported that the suspect fired from a window. An hour later, police stormed the apartment and shot the suspect. He was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital. Two police officers suffered minor injuries in the operation.
This incident marks the first time in Iceland's 200-plus year history since their independence from Denmark, that police have ever shot and killed a suspect. Police extended their regrets and condolences to the man they killed.
For Americans, this record seems almost unbelievable. In 2012, police in the United States killed 587 people. That figure includes both justifiable homicide and non-justified. The average for justified shootings has hovered around 400 annually for a number of years. Police-involved shootings roughly doubles the number of people killed. Many of these shootings involve unarmed suspects.
While many may lay blame on America's "gun culture," that doesn't seem to hold true with the averages of other countries with high gun-ownership rates. Switzerland, for example, has an extremely low crime rate and one of the leading per-capita gun ownership rates in the world. Despite this incident being the first-ever police shooting in Iceland, gun ownership there rates 15th in the world with nearly one-in-three citizens owning a firearm.
In Germany, police only fired 85 rounds in all of 2011.
Figures like these stand in stark contrast to the numbers we see in the Unites States. Of course, it should be understood here that we have high gun crime rates in general in the US, so not every police-shooting should be seen as unjustified. In some instances too, a suspect may not have a firearm but may, for example, use a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon. Police shootings are, sadly enough, often justified.
But that same time, we also see that many times police shootings in the US are not justified from a moral sense, but the officers are legally cleared of wrongdoing. In other instances, even wrongful shootings are met with little to no consequences, for what amounts to a criminal act by a law-enforcement officer. If there was more accountability for police, there may be less shootings and death, and a greater likelihood of proper discretion from professionals.
Here is a compilation of some of the less-than-justified police shootings in the US:
In this instance, a SWAT team were given medals for not shooting an innocent man who shot at them, when they illegally raided his home during the Christmas holiday season.
SWAT Get Medals For Shooting at Innocent Family In Botched Raid
In this video (CAUTION: GRAPHIC) police execute a man during a raid in which they had full knowledge that their suspect no longer resided at the location. The man they executed was armed with a golf-club and seemingly unaware that the intruders were police.
Dead Bang: Man Shot Dead by Home Invaders With Badges
In this case, a man was shot dead by police after he knocked at a residential door looking for help.
Unarmed Man Shot Dead Running to Police for Help After Serious Car Wreck
We can even look to high profile cases, where incompetence borders on murder. Take the case of the alleged Boston Bombers. The first brother was reported killed in a shootout with police, but in other stories scrubbed from the internet, there was evidence that he may have been killed while in police custody. That may fall under the realm of "conspiracy theory" but we do have other facts to show that something was very wrong with the Boston incident.
The second suspect, was fired on repeatedly, without proper cause. He was not armed, and made no overt actions of violence while he was trapped in the boat. There was no immediate danger to officers/agents. As if it weren't bad enough that police fired on an unarmed non-aggressive suspect, we must also consider the gravity of that situation. from a professional investigative point of view. In in the interest of public safety, that suspect had to be taken alive for interrogation to ensure that there was not a larger plot and more devices spread about Boston or the US. The agressiveness seems unprofessional at best.
Did Cops Try To Murder Bombing Suspect?
These instances, at face value, really are simply examples of incompetence more than deliberate murder. For civilians, some of these might amount to manslaughter, on par with accidentally killing someone in a drunk-driving accident perhaps. But whereas most civilians might expect to do 15 or years in prison for such an error, the police are held to a far less rigorous standard for screwing up, even after all their training and public confidence.
In this instance, a police officer was convicted of wrongdoing in the death of a motorist, but had his conciction tossed in order to become "top cop" in this town.
You put the uniform back on and you look at yourself in the mirror, and you think, I’m back,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Cop Made Chief After Negligent Homicide Conviction
Now we can really scrape the bottom of the barrel though. Where genuine murderers use the badge to kill in cold blood, for pure self-gain. Given the extreme level of protections and forgiveness afforded law-enforcement officials, it seems more than likely that most cases such as these never make it to the light of day.
In the third segment of the following link, you can read the brief about two cops who murdered a mother who was nursing a newborn infant in order to cover up their influence over a masseuse-brothel.
3 More Stories of Police Incomeptence, Corruption, and Violent Crime
From small town, to big time, crooked cops do murder in the US.
Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa
Although we have gone out of our way here to emphasize the non-necessity of many police shootings, the incompetence, the mistakes, the regrets, the cold-blooded murders... We are not here to endorse the disarming of police. More often than not, police are indeed justified in using a gun to defend themselves and others. However, without accountability for wrongful acts, and downright criminal acts, the worst human beings among us will flock to the badge as a shield or protection for their evil ways.
Please support accountability for police.
Firing With Intent: Are American Cops Out of Control?