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82 Police Officers in United States Charged with Murder or Manslaughter resulting from On-Duty Shootings since 2005

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By my count, since the beginning of 2005, there have been 82 nonfederal sworn law enforcement officers with the general powers of arrest (e.g., police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, etc.) who have been arrested for murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting where the officer shot and killed someone. Of those 82 officers, to date only 30 have been convicted of a crime resulting from the on-duty shooting (14 by guilty plea, 16 by jury trial, and none by a bench trial).

In the cases where an officer has been convicted, it is often for a lesser offense. Only 5 officers have been convicted of murder (in four of those cases the murder convictions were overturned, but the officers were later convicted of federal crimes arising out of the same incident). The only officer in this time frame who was convicted of intentional murder and is now in prison is James Ashby (Rocky Ford Police Department in Colorado). As to the other officers, 11 were convicted of manslaughter, 4 were convicted of voluntary manslaughter, 6 were convicted of involuntary manslaughter, 2 were convicted of official misconduct, 1 was convicted of reckless homicide, and 1 was convicted of federal criminal deprivation of civil rights.

The criminal cases for 36 of the officers ended in a non-conviction: 20 were acquitted at a jury trial, 6 were acquitted at a bench trial, 4 were dismissed by a judge, 5 were dismissed by a prosecutor, and in one instance no true bill was returned from a grand jury. The criminal cases for 16 of the officers are still pending today (including Tensing in Ohio).

Out of the 82 officers charged since the beginning of 2005 with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting, the criminal cases have been concluded for 66 of the officers (30 convicted and 36 not convicted).

Written by Phil Stinson

June 28th, 2017 at 6:29 pm

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