As of Sunday afternoon, there have been at least 515 people killed by police in 2015.
The 500th person to be killed by law enforcement officers took place Monday in Arizona after the wife of 69-year-old Richard Warolf called the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to report that her husband was armed, drinking, depressed and wanted to die by “suicide by cop.”
So they sent out the SWAT team and attempted to negotiate with him during a four-hour standoff in which he threatened to shoot them if they entered his home.
But he also stepped out of his Sun City home several times during the standoff to feed the birds that had congregated near his door.
During one of these feeding sessions, SWAT team deputies tossed what is described by local media as a “percussive device” to distract him, which apparently is a kindler, gentler way of describing a flash grenade.
The idea was to distract him, then tackle him, but a sheriff’s spokesman said the explosion only caused him to point his gun towards them.
And that was when they killed him.
Police say they had no choice but to kill him, but a witness says the man was drunk and did not have to be killed. A surveillance video, which can be viewed in the news report below, shows the officer pull up to the man, exchange some words before the man staggers and walks away.
That was when the cop pulled out his gun, which was when the man came charging at him with a flagpole.
Police say they initially stopped him because he matched the description of a man who had assaulted a woman, but it has not yet been confirmed if it was the same man.
The Guardian, which has been maintaining its own database, is a little behind, reporting 508 people killed by police so far, but they have not yet added the second and third people killed on Saturday after Boulware.
But it breaks down the first 500 deaths as follows:
“Among the first 500 deaths, 49.6% of people were white, 28.2% were black and 14.8% were Hispanic/Latino. According to the 2013 census, the US population is 62.6% white, 13.2% black and 17.1% Hispanic/Latino.”
Police have killed thousands of people over the past decade with no official database having tracked them. Meanwhile, only 54 officers had been charged relating to fatal shootings while on duty as of April, the Washington Post reported.
Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice has not prosecuted a single officer for civil rights violations. Not one.
An analysis conducted by the Washington Post found that in most of the cases to see charges, the victim was unarmed and had at least one of these factors: victim shot in the back, incriminating testimony from other officers or allegations of a cover-up or a video recording of the incident.
This is why it is so important that we record every encounter, every time. You are doing a public service by taking the time to record any police stop you see. Situations that may appear harmless and under control can escalate in the blink of an eye and a human being may be left dead, with no justice for the grieving friends and family.