Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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A member of militia attends a rally in Michigan, on September 17, 2020. [Photo by Adam J. Dewey/NurPhoto via AP]

Daily Bulletin: Far-Right Incidents Becoming Less Frequent — But More Violent

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Far-right vigilantism: Incidents becoming less frequent, but more violent. That’s according to Portland, Oregon-based geographer Alexander Reid Ross, who’s been tracking threats or acts of violence perpetrated by far-right actors since the police killing of George Floyd in May. Overall, he documented 770 incidents, and more than half (409) go beyond harassment and intimidation. While such incidents have fallen since the summer, a rising share now involve the use of firearms or other physical attacks. “I think the violence will be getting worse,” Ross told CityLab, which visualized the data.

Caveats: The data does not include violence perpetrated by left-wing actors reported at protests. But research organizations and government assessments say far-left violence in the United states pales in comparison to the threat emanating from the far right.

How many Americans support defunding the police? It depends on what they think the term means. Overall, 37 percent of Americans support “defunding the police” compared to 62 percent who are opposed, according to the Public Religion Research Institute’s annual American Values Survey. But answers diverge sharply between people who believe it means eliminating police departments entirely and those who think it entails redirecting funding to other social services. When people interpret the defund movement to mean police abolition, an overwhelming 91 percent of respondents oppose it. But when it’s seen as a reallocation of funds, Americans are nearly split — with 50 percent opposed and 49 percent in support.

Police are far more likely to fatally shoot mentally ill people in small and mid-sized areas. A Washington Post analysis covering the last six years found that such killings were 39 percent more likely in cities with fewer than 1 million people. Overall, the total number of mental illness-related fatal shootings slightly declined in 2019, driven by large metropolitan areas. The Post attributed declines in larger cities to police departments there implementing de-escalation tactics and crisis training. Overall, the police have fatally shot 1,324 people with mental illness since 2015, about a quarter of all fatal officer shootings in that period. Related: There’s a growing reform effort to remove police from situations that have historically preceded police use of force.

Police working in majority-Black neighborhoods in NYC were also more likely to receive misconduct complaints. The Public Safety Lab at New York University analyzed thousands of complaints filed against NYPD officers with the Civilian Complaint Review Board between 2006 and 2019. The big takeaway? “There is more officer misconduct that is unrelated to a precinct’s reported crime volume, more stops that are unrelated to a precinct’s reported crime volume, and misconduct that is committed by fewer officers, in precincts with more Black residents,” Anna Harvey, director of the lab, wrote in an op-ed accompanying the report. “The patterns revealed by our analysis indicate that how a neighborhood is policed depends on how many of its residents are Black.”

DATA POINT

94 percent — how many of the people with mental illnesses killed by the police since 2015 were men. More than half were white, while 16 percent were Black, and 13 percent were Latino. [The Washington Post]