The Instigator
Quetzal
Pro (for)
The Contender
Frost_Fire
Con (against)

Police officer related deaths are exaggerated by the media and are not a widespread problem.

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Debate Round Forfeited
Frost_Fire has forfeited round #2.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 500 times Debate No: 99663
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

Quetzal

Pro

Good evening. I am opening a debate with the following argument:

Police officer related deaths are exaggerated by extensive and misleading media coverage. Further, there is not a widespread problem of fatal force being used irresponsibly by police officers on a broad scale.

I support this argument using statistics published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Additional sources include extracts and data sets from the Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today, and FiveThirtyEight.

I am making this argument based on the following data points:
There are ~800,000 full time, sworn officers at the time of this posting.
https://www.bjs.gov...

There are ~1,000 officer related deaths per year, on average, using 2016 as the most recent example.
https://en.wikipedia.org...

With these data points in mind, I come to the conclusion that 1 out of every 800 officers (0.125%) uses lethal force in a given year. Illustrating the chance of an individual being the victim of lethal force, assuming all elements and factors being equal throughout by pure statistical analysis, to being less than 0.2%. This conclusion stands counter to media portrayal over the last 6-18 months that attempts to create a widespread problem and breed mistrust of law enforcement officers when the data illustrates the contrary.

Edit: Needed to reframe the timing regarding my argument. Revised.
Frost_Fire

Con

Thank you.
Police officer related deaths are not exaggerated and here is why...
Although the media is as trustworthy as Trump saying that Global Warming is a hoax, they have never exaggerated any of these numbers. Has the media ever talked about thousands of police officers brutally murdering people? No, they generally talk about the way people are murdered, which may of course be exaggerated, but otherwise, they have not done these things. Although the amount of unarmed blacks killed is higher than whites, police "brutality" is generally associated in black neighborhoods, and it is not the media exaggerating the problem, but blacks who are protesting that the death of these unarmed blacks is not justified. Hopefully, you can see my point here. The media is basically documenting and talking about these protests but people who can be related to the problem, are actually the "exaggerators" in this case.

Back to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Quetzal

Pro

"…they have never exaggerated any of these numbers. Has the media ever talked about thousands of police officers brutally murdering people? No, they generally talk about the way people are murdered, which may of course be exaggerated, but otherwise, they have not done these things."

You admit that they could be exaggerated and then proceed to say they have not done that very thing. Any exaggeration at all has the dangerous potential of creating mistrust and friction between police officers and the population. You can see this in the aftermath of some of the high-profile cases that dominated media waves for days at a time. Coverage is given to these platforms which have the potential to be inaccurate. Combine that with the rapid exchange of information (or misinformation, in some cases) and it can create volatile situations due to the lack of statistical analysis to go with it. It has the ability to impact impressionable and frightened people into believing that they will be the next victim.

The media does not present the data. Why would they? Needless to say, certain headlines sell better than others. “1 out of every 800 officers (0.125%) uses lethal force in a given year” does not hold the same shock value as others. Many headlines are designed to initiate an emotional response instead of a logical response. Logic and statistics tell us that the chances of facing lethal force at the hands of a law enforcement officer is extremely low. However, the various media outlets present a different message. The media does not have to be wrong to be misleading.


"...
The media is basically documenting and talking about these protests but people who can be related to the problem, are actually the 'exaggerators' in this case."

Sure, I would be willing to agree that is part of it. But another part of it relies on the responsibility of the media to present statistics to make the argument well-rounded. If we can agree on that, the second part of my debate position still stands: Police officer related deaths are not a widespread problem. I do not see 0.125% as an alarming statistic that warrants distrust in the police related to lethal force.

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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Frost_Fire 9 months ago
Frost_Fire
Sorry for the forfeit. I haven't been on for quite a while. I will submit and I agree that I have lost this debate.
Posted by Frost_Fire 11 months ago
Frost_Fire
Although there are the few racist and extreme officers, most officers don't resort to shooting the person. They only do it unless they have to. Hopefully, everyone can see my position. I understand that the media is the master of exaggerating, but I think your argument is slightly misguided on what the media is actually exaggerating.
Posted by AmericanDeist 11 months ago
AmericanDeist
Everyone is a bigot to some degree about something.

If a cop is assigned to a Section 8 housing area, and 100% of the residence there are black, and the cop writes 20 tickets and arrests 10 people per month, and every ticket/arrest was of a black person, does that mean the cop is racist or a bigot? No! The tickets and arrests come from the area that he/she was assigned to work.

Do cops use profiling? Absolutely! It's called gut instinct based off experience.

If someone is rolling in a Crown Vic with 22s, blasting "F*** the Police" by NWA, they have a dozen air fresheners hanging off their rear view mirror and drive in circles around a known dope house...chances are they are not choir boys at the local church.

The same could be said of a white person driving around "the hood" at 2 am, slow rolling by every known crack house and street corner. They are out of place and are OBVIOUSLY looking for something that's probably not very high up on the legal scale.

Or the white girl hanging out in front of a $20/night motel every night, in the middle of the hood. She doesn't belong there. Every cop that has been out of academy for at least 2 minutes knows that she is a prostitute.
Posted by Verithenes 11 months ago
Verithenes
Not every cop is bad but it has been shown that some use racial bigotry at times.
Posted by AmericanDeist 11 months ago
AmericanDeist
I am a cop, so if I may...

The average career of a police officer is generally 20 to 30 years, depending on the retirement system. Those with higher ranks tend to stay longer. Occasionally you'll have a die hard that does 40+ years.

It's not that 1 out of 800 will use lethal force in their career, but rather 1 out of 800 per year will use lethal force. Under that premise, the stats and the Pro OP are correct.

Also, that 800,000 (in the US) includes both full time and part time sworn LEOs.

None of that changes the point that the media is blowing it way out of proportion, and painting every cop as a blood thirsty murderer. Fortunately, most intelligent people can see through that.
Posted by Capitalistslave 11 months ago
Capitalistslave
Though, in order to compute that, we need to know the average career-length for officers. Let's pretend it's 40, that would mean 40,000 deaths from officers during the career, and it would thus be 40,000/800,000 which means 5% of officers have to use lethal force. Still not that high, but higher than what you claim it is. The actual number may be plus or minus a percentage, as I just took the 40 year average length of time an officer is in their career out of nowhere, but I'm sure the actual number it not that far off, at most it's off by 10 years I would assume
Posted by Capitalistslave 11 months ago
Capitalistslave
I would be on the side of pro, but I already see something that con could attack. Your claim that "1 out of every 800 officers (0.125%) uses lethal force in their career" is completely wrong. You did this based off of the 800,000 sworn in full-time officers, and the 1,000 average of officer related deaths per year, from what I can tell, but you're not taking into account that officers are in their career for decades, which would mean there are tens of thousands of officer related deaths during a single officer's career. If you assume the 800,000 stays constant, this would essentially be tens of thousands divided by the 800,000, and that would be the true number of officers who use lethal force.
Posted by sboss18 11 months ago
sboss18
Your math is wrong. It's 0.125%, you didn't convert to a percentage.
Posted by AmericanDeist 11 months ago
AmericanDeist
Grabs the popcorn...

Oh, and I support the Pro side of this argument 100%.
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