Numbers show gun violence spike on both sides of the law - KMOV.com

Numbers show gun violence spike on both sides of the law

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(KMOV.com) -- In the wake of another officer-involved shooting death, a light has been shone once again on the violent interactions between citizens and police. Looking into the numbers, it’s clear there are victims on both sides of the law, prompting discussion on how to better preserve peace and lives.

Since August there have now been four shootings of black men by police in the St. Louis area. Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, there have been five law enforcement officers shot in the St. Louis metro area.

"It's unfortunate that officers around the country are shot at all the time and nobody bothers to push that story out," said former police officer and associate professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis David Klinger.

Klinger added he is not surprised at how often police are being shot at.

In September, a Ferguson officer was shot in the arm. In November, a University City was hit in his bullet proof vest. Later, the same gunman was killed after shooting two FBI agents. In December, an off duty St. Louis officer was shot in the legs as he was driving.

One reason for the spike, Klinger speculates, is that many may be looking at police as being vulnerable; unwilling to shoot back after the high-profile Ferguson case.

"What I can tell you is when I was a police officer in Los Angeles, I had to kill a guy who was in process of trying to murder my partner with a butcher knife,” he said.  “The very last thing that went through my mind before I pulled the trigger was, ‘I'm going to get indicted.’"

No one knows what went through the mind of the Berkeley officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin who reportedly drew a gun on him, but his action, according to Klinger, was the only reaction.

"The public needs to understand that anytime an individual is in the process of drawing or pointing a firearm at a police officer, the odds are very high that officer will shoot them and that message needs to get out," he said.

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch has been tweeting on this subject. He sent one tweet stating that since Mike Brown's death, 19 police officers have been killed by gunfire. Also in that time at least 15 teens in the US have been killed by police.

 

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