It can be really illuminating to see which posts the police apologist trolls choose to comment on. A recent case in point is this Police the Police image that I recently shared to the Northern Virginia Cop Block page. Immediately, one of our regular trolls commented saying that both postal workers and Cesar Millan have killed dogs. Of course this is a classic deflection attempt that we often see with police apologists—Not that the police don’t do something, but that it’s irrelevant or even OK because some other group does it also. If postal workers and Cesar Millan do indeed kill dogs what does that prove? That it is suddenly acceptable for cops to kill dogs because they have plenty of dog-killing company?
After being pressed, the commenter at first provided a single incident of a postal worker who killed a dog on his route. I replied that he had been able to find one incident out of millions of daily interactions between postal workers and dogs at the residences they service. A second commenter stated that is exactly what Northern Virginia Cop Block does, takes isolated incidents and pretends they are indicative of a trend. I’ll respond to his claim later on in this article.
Now to answer the question: Do mail carriers or Cesar Millan kill dogs? If so, do they kill them with the same frequency that police do? I could find exactly 0 cases of Cesar Millan killing a dog. The closest I came was a lawsuit from an owner who claimed Millan injured his dog while having it run on a treadmill. In fact, the commenter who made that claim could not even post an article showing him to have killed one, instead switching to articles criticizing Millan’s tactics as abusive. While Cesar Millan has many fans, he certainly has many critics. If there were a case where he killed a dog, it would have been highly publicized.
These people probably wish cops had used Millan’s controversial tactics rather than killing their family pets in cold blood.
As for mail carriers, there are news reports where mail carriers have killed dogs, but none where they shot them. Since the meme specifically references shooting dogs, it stands correct, however the number of dogs killed regardless of method would be a more useful comparison. Unfortunately, no statistics seem to exist other than the number of mail carriers attacked by dogs each year (about 6,000 a year). A quick Google search of “mailman kills dog” returns 89,700 results (compared to 1,450,000 for “cop kills dog”), but of the first 10 results, 6 of them are about the same incident in Texas, 2 are about a dog run over with a mail truck in Kentucky, and the remaining 2 are about postal workers being attacked by dogs. Many of the other results on the first page are actually stories about cops killing dogs.
There just isn’t enough statistical data to do a direct comparison, but what we do find indicates that mail carriers killing dogs are rare events, not routine behavior condoned by their employers.
However, here’s what we do know:
- Half of intentional shootings by police involve dogs
- It’s estimated that police kill a dog every 98 minutes
- The number of dogs killed by police ranged from 510 to 890 during 2010-2014, based on media reports. The total number is likely higher
- The ASPCA was concerned enough to issue a position statement about police killing dogs
- Police organizations themselves have recognized that the frequency with which police kill dogs is a problem
- The phenomenon is so common that it has a name, “puppycide,” and a database tracking incidents, the Puppycide Database Project, and also a documentary
All of this points to a culture of dog murder within law enforcement that doesn’t appear in other professions where leadership emphasizes behavioral techniques over lethal force in dealing with dogs. In fact, as Radley Balko recently pointed out in a Washington Post article about a cop shooting a four-year-old girl when he tried to kill her family’s dog, cops exhibit such reckless zeal for killing our canine companions that they pay little attention to who else might get caught in the crossfire:
“ an Iowa cop shot and killed a woman by mistake while trying to kill her dog. Other cops have shot other kids, other bystanders, their partners, their supervisors and even themselves while firing their guns at a dog.”
Now I will address the other commenter’s accusation that police accountability pages take rare occurrences and make them seem commonplace. Considering that 544 people have already been killed by police this year, and the countless police brutality settlements, wrongful convictions , and even China now calling out the US for rampant police abuses, it totally makes sense that police apologists would think we’re just making a mountain out of a mole hill.
This second commenter also sought to console himself by claiming that the “overwhelming majority” agrees with him that there is no epidemic of police misconduct. A recent Gallup poll shows that the “overwhelming” majority is a mere 52% and falling fast. If a Gallup poll is too “biased” for you, we can look a bit closer to home, at the recent constituent survey for the Braddock District in Fairfax County, where only 51.7% of respondents reported having a great deal of confidence the police officers in their community would not use excessive force. When asked “how confident are you that the police in this county are held accountable for any misconduct,” only 35.74% said they were “very confident.” A full 24.42% were either “not so confident” or “not confident at all.” You can also check out the May 18th public comment session where about 20 people gave testimony about what a great job police were doing in their community. Just kidding. The stories residents shared were about false arrests, threats of deadly force, misuse of SWAT, mistreatment of the mentally ill, and other police abuses.
If that’s not enough for you, take it from cops themselves. Although most will publicly deny that police misconduct is a widespread issue, many are often willing to be honest about it privately. Take for example, this survey of police officers conducted by the Police Foundation back in 2000. I won’t bother going over the results. Just look at the charts below. Considering the drastic increase in police militarization since 2000 and the “warrior cop” mindset, the results of this survey would probably be even worse if repeated today.
Read it and weep, cop apologists. These are your heroes admitting to brutality and cover-ups.
Of course, none of this makes any difference to the trolls constantly playing “police apologist bingo” online and in real life. They’ll never wake up unless they find themselves on the receiving end of the kind of unconstitutional abuses they applaud the police for committing against other people. And if that’s what it takes for these moral deficients to grow a conscience, who cares what they think or what happens to them?