Recently, the national conversation around police killings has largely focused on two places: New York and Ferguson. Perhaps it's time to add Utah to that list, where homicides by cop are outpacing nearly every single other class of killer.
According to data compiled by the the Salt Lake Tribune, police officers are behind only "violence between spouses and dating partners" in homicides in the state over the past five years, beating out the likes of gang members and drug dealers. In 2014 so far, cops have claimed the number-one spot, outranking even violent lovers.
According to the Tribune, Utah cops have killed 45 people since 2010—15 percent of all homicides in the state. Only one of the shootings—the 2012 killing of unarmed teenager Danielle Willard—was deemed unjustified, and as the Tribune notes, charges against former West Valley City detective Shaun Cowley (above) were dropped last month.
Ian Adams, a Utah police spokesman responded to the investigation with a reminder that hey, it isn't just cops. Other people kill people too, and if they'd stop, maybe so would the police?
"Police are trained and expected to react to deadly threats. As many deadly threats emerge is the exact amount of times police will respond," wrote Ian Adams, a West Jordan police officer and spokesman for the Utah Fraternal Order of Police. "The onus is on the person being arrested to stop trying to assault and kill police officers and the innocent public. … Why do some in society continue to insist the problem lies with police officers?"
Adams himself, it should be noted, shot a man who was carrying "a fake gun made of a bent piece of metal with taped-on laser pointer" in the foot earlier this year. Timothy Peterson, who survived the ordeal, was one of the lucky ones.
[Image via AP]