A contagious shooting is a sociological phenomenon observed in military and police personnel in the United States, in which one person firing on a target can induce others to begin shooting. Often the subsequent shooters will not know why they are firing.
This is defined as “officers firing because others are doing so,” or according to Professor Eugene J. O’Donnell of John Jay College, “cops shoot because other cops shoot.” While commonly accepted in popular culture and police jargon, there has been yet no scientific evidence “to prove the existence of a contagious shooting dynamic,” which O’Donnell said was a “debatable notion.”
Additionally, a former CIA employee and FBI firearms instructor observed it in training. “Consistently, in every class, officers would shoot at their target upon hearing others shoot, even when their particular target board did not contain the called target.” He suggests that one reason it occurs is because of muscle memory: ” The targets turn or the whistle blows, and all the officers shoot together until a cease fire signal is given.”
O’Donnell partially reinforces this, saying that in classic cases involving contagious shooting, “a gun was shot before any officers fired,” and thus “the officers involved began shooting because of fear or because of the sound of a colleague firing.”
Examples Of Contagious Shooting:
- 2013: In California, officers involved in the search for Christopher Dorner mistakenly fired at least 100 rounds at a truck occupied by three people, none of whom had any connection to the suspect. Each of the two women injured received $2.1 million in a settlement with the city of Los Angeles.
- 2012: NYPD officers responded to a report of shots fired with one victim killed in front of the Empire State Building. Officers fired sixteen rounds wounding 9 bystanders and killing the shooter.
- 2011: On Memorial Day in Miami Beach several police officers fired until their magazines were empty on a stopped car after the driver smashed into other cars, killing the driver and injuring seven bystanders.
- 2010: A bystander was injured in Harlem when a man “open[ed] fire on responding officers, who fired 46 times in response.” “In the Harlem episode, unlike the Bell and Diallo cases, a gun was shot before any officers fired, according to the police account. So, Professor O’Donnell said, in the Harlem case, ‘there really is a shot,’ and not just the threat of gunfire.”
- 2009: A man threatening officers with a rifle was shot 59 times in what was ruled a “suicide-by-cop” in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- 2006: Five officers fired 50 shots at Sean Bell in Queens, New York, including 31 by one detective – who reloaded his weapon during the incident.
- 2006: Three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in the Bronx, New York in July.
- 2006: Police in Lakeland, Florida fired 110 rounds at a suspect, Angilo Freeland, who had killed an officer earlier, hitting him 68 times. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd famously told the Orlando Sentinel, “That’s all the bullets we had”.
- 2005: Eight officers fired 43 shots at Brian Allen, an armed man, in Queens, New York killing him.
- 2005: June, six Los Angeles County, California sheriff’s deputies fired more than 50 shots into the car in which drunken driving suspect Carl Williams was driving, after his car rammed a police vehicle following a chase. One deputy had to reload his weapon during the incident.
- 2004: “When 44-year-old drug suspect Winston Hayes’ SUV lurched forward he hit a police car, deputies unloaded their weapons, firing 120 shots. Four bullets ended up hitting Hayes who survived, one hit a deputy sheriff, 11 hit patrol cars and 11 hit five homes in the neighborhood (one of them ended up tearing a hole in a homeowner’s hat).” —ABC News.
- 1999: Four officers fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man in the Bronx, New York on February 4, 1999.
- 1998: New Jersey State Police fired 11 shots at Daniel Reyes and three other basketball players in their car in April.
From Davey’ D’s article:
29 Black People Have Been Killed by Police/Security Since Jan 2012: 16 Since Trayvon
APRIL 6, 2012 BY
The list below are just noting the deaths at hands of the police, its not highlighting the enormous amounts of brutality and outright disrespect many in the Black community have to endure on a daily basis.. The report below is to say the least disturbing and underscores a low wage war going on in our communities…
Twenty-eight Black People (27 Men and 1 Female) Killed by Police Officials, Security
Guards, and Self-Appointed “Keepers of the Peace” between January 1, 2012 and March
– 28 cases of state sanctioned or justified murder of Black people in the first 3
months of 2012 alone have been found (due to under reporting and discriminatory
methods of documentation, it is likely that there are more that our research has yet
– Of the 28 killed people, 18 were definitely unarmed. 2 probably had firearms, 8
were alleged to have non-lethal weapons.
– Of the 28 killed people,
. 11 were innocent of any illegal behavior or behavior that involved a
threat to anyone (although the shooters claimed they looked “suspicious”);
. 7 were emotionally disturbed and/or displaying strange behavior.
. The remaining 10 were either engaged in illegal or potentially illegal
activity, or there was too little info to determine circumstances of their
killing. It appears that in all but two of these cases, illegal and/or harmful
behavior could have been stopped without the use of lethal force.
This list of 28 names was collected between 3/28/2012 and 3/30/2012 by reviewing Google search results to the question, “who have police killed in 2012”. Only the first 65 pages out of 712,000,000 were reviewed. As you can see this compiling of data is incomplete because…..wait for it….police agencies do not, nor are they required, to document whom they kill.
From Pro Publica:
A ProPublica analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males.
Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.
The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.
One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica’s analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.
ProPublica’s risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.
Our examination involved detailed accounts of more than 12,000 police homicides stretching from 1980 to 2012 contained in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. The data, annually self-reported by hundreds of police departments across the country, confirms some assumptions, runs counter to others, and adds nuance to a wide range of questions about the use of deadly police force.
Colin Loftin, University at Albany professor and co-director of the Violence Research Group, said the FBI data is a minimum count of homicides by police, and that it is impossible to precisely measure what puts people at risk of homicide by police without more and better records. Still, what the data shows about the race of victims and officers, and the circumstances of killings, are “certainly relevant,” Loftin said.
“No question, there are all kinds of racial disparities across our criminal justice system,” he said. “This is one example.”
The FBI’s data has appeared in news accounts over the years, and surfaced again with the August killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. To a great degree, observers and experts lamented the limited nature of the FBI’s reports. Their shortcomings are inarguable.
The data, for instance, is terribly incomplete. Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all, and many have filed reports for some years but not others. Florida departments haven’t filed reports since 1997 and New York City last reported in 2007. Information contained in the individual reports can also be flawed. Still, lots of the reporting police departments are in larger cities, and at least 1000 police departments filed a report or reports over the 33 years.
There is, then, value in what the data can show while accepting, and accounting for, its limitations. Indeed, while the absolute numbers are problematic, a comparison between white and black victims shows important trends. Our analysis included dividing the number of people of each race killed by police by the number of people of that race living in the country at the time, to produce two different rates: the risk of getting killed by police if you are white and if you are black.
David Klinger, a University of Missouri-St. Louis professor and expert on police use of deadly force, said racial disparities in the data could result from “measurement error,” meaning that the unreported killings could alter ProPublica’s findings.
However, he said the disparity between black and white teenage boys is so wide, “I doubt the measurement error would account for that.”
ProPublica spent weeks digging into the many rich categories of information the reports hold: the race of the officers involved; the circumstances cited for the use of deadly force; the age of those killed.
Who Gets Killed?
The finding that young black men are 21 times as likely as their white peers to be killed by police is drawn from reports filed for the years 2010 to 2012, the three most recent years for which FBI numbers are available.
The black boys killed can be disturbingly young. There were 41 teens 14 years or younger reported killed by police from 1980 to 2012. 27 of them were black; 8 were white; 4 were Hispanic and 1 was Asian.
That’s not to say officers weren’t killing white people. Indeed, some 44 percent of all those killed by police across the 33 years were white.
White or black, though, those slain by police tended to be roughly the same age. The average age of blacks killed by police was 30. The average age of whites was 35.
Who is killing all those black men and boys?
Mostly white officers. But in hundreds of instances, black officers, too. Black officers account for a little more than 10percent of all fatal police shootings. Of those they kill, though,78 percent were black.
White officers, given their great numbers in so many of the country’s police departments, are well represented in all categories of police killings. White officers killed 91 percent of the whites who died at the hands of police. And they were responsible for 68 percent of the people of color killed. Those people of color represented 46 percent of all those killed by white officers.
What were the circumstances surrounding all these fatal encounters?
There were 151 instances in which police noted that teens they had shot dead had been fleeing or resisting arrest at the time of the encounter. 67 percent of those killed in such circumstances were black. That disparity was even starker in the last couple of years: of the 15 teens shot fleeing arrest from 2010 to 2012, 14 were black.
Did police always list the circumstances of the killings? No, actually, there were many deadly shooting where the circumstances were listed as “undetermined.” 77 percent of those killed in such instances were black.
Certainly, there were instances where police truly feared for their lives.
Of course, although the data show that police reported that as the cause of their actions in far greater numbers after the 1985 Supreme Court decision that said police could only justify using deadly force if the suspects posed a threat to the officer or others. From 1980 to 1984, “officer under attack” was listed as the cause for 33 percent of the deadly shootings. Twenty years later, looking at data from 2005 to 2009, “officer under attack” was cited in 62 percent of police killings.
Does the data include cases where police killed people with something other than a standard service handgun?
Yes, and the Los Angeles Police Department stood out in its use of shotguns. Most police killings involve officers firing handgunsxl. But from 1980 to 2012, 714 involved the use of a shotgun. The Los Angeles Police Department has a special claim on that category. It accounted for 47 cases in which an officer used a shotgun. The next highest total came from the Dallas Police Department: 14.
Thank you Pro Publica.
If you have reached the same sad conclusion after reading this compiled information that I reached….logic and common sense will lead you to surmise that AmeriKKKan Law Enforcement is not accountable to any higher authority when it comes to murder, slaughter or shooting to kill American citizens. AmeriKKKan Law Enforcement agencies nation wide do not have to keep track, report or explain to the general public, those they are suppose to “Serve & Protect”, why, how or even when they take a life.
Thats a mighty big power trip to hand over to racist biased unbalanced humans.
Wonder how YOU’D feel if/when a cop kills your loved one, friend, spouse…and has to answer to his comrades, co-workers, friends and a justice system that hides & protects him/her from the American public? Oh Yeah….and gives him/her a paid vacation while him/her awaits to NOT get indicted?
Welcome To The United States Of AmeriKKKa.