A Garrison State in ‘Democratic’ Society
This paper1 reports on a study of police officers killed in the line of duty and civilians killed by the police. The study was originated in 1971 in reaction to news reporting on the several mass media outlets at the local and national levels which focused on FBI statistics indicating police officers were being ‘assassinated’ at an alarming rate. A police reporter for an educational television station alarmed viewers with a report that 125 law enforcement officers had been killed in 1971, an increase of almost two and one-half times over 1963 when only 55 police officers were killed in all of that year. Police killings of citizens, however, were reported as isolated events. Although the death of civilians at the hands of police occurred from time to time, no news analyst attempted to show this as a national phenomenon.
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