Saturday, December 12, 2015

Terrorism now tops the list of Americans' fears. Fear of the police? Not so much.

Gold Cross Award winners, from left, Sgt. Richard LaCerra and Deputy
Peter Peraza stand with Sheriff Scott Israel during the Broward Sheriff’s Office
Awards Ceremony at the African-American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale
in 2013. Amy Beth Bennett / Sun Sentinel

Headline: Fear of Terrorism Lifts Donald Trump in New York Times/CBS Poll
Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001....

Another recent poll says that 58% of likely voters "think there's a war on police in America today."

But consider this headline: U.S. Police Killed More People in November Than English Police Have in 25 Years.

Unsurprisingly, in many U.S. communities, some Americans are more fearful and suspicious of the police than they are of ISIS.
Do police officers “routinely lie to serve their own interests?” Thirty-one percent of Americans believe they do, and that number rises to 45 percent among African-Americans, 41 percent among young people and 39 percent among Democrats. Republicans reject that charge three to one (60 to 20 percent).

There once was a time in Miami that police had a virtual license to kill.

Twenty years ago, one band of rogue Miami officers would plant guns called "throw-down guns" at police shooting scenes and later say they had to shoot because the person had a gun.
'To carry out this conspiracy, the officers would seize property, including guns, from people in the city of Miami and fail to submit them to the Miami Police Department property room,'' [U.S. Attorney Guy] Lewis said. ''The defendants would later plant the guns on the scene of police-involved shootings.''
Four former Miami police officers were ultimately convicted on the conspiracy charges in federal court.

These days cops no longer use throw-down guns.

Now they just say something like an officer shot a suspect "because he feared for his life," or the suspect made a "sudden movement" or "he went for his waistband."

And if you're a cop at one South Florida law enforcement agency, you might even get an award for shooting someone.

Yesterday, Broward Sheriff's Office deputy Peter Peraza was "indicted for manslaughter in the shooting death of Jermaine McBean, who was killed while walking home with an unloaded pellet gun he had just bought a pawn shop." Less than three months after the shooting, Peraza was presented with an award by Sheriff Scott Israel.
Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Peter Peraza — who was given a bravery award for the shooting by his bosses while it was still under investigation — surrendered early Friday and was expected to be released on $25,000 bond, prosecutors said. He was suspended without pay and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
In videotaped statements to investigators, Peraza said he fired because he feared for his life.

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