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Police Shootings: Mortal Threats vs Tragic Mistakes

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Police sometimes face mortal threats.  They also face innocent people whom they mistakenly judge to pose a mortal threat.  If too slow to react to the former, the police risk being killed.  If too quick to react to the latter, they risk killing innocent civilians.  What is the right way to balance these risks?  Three options present themselves:(1) Give some extra weight to protecting innocent civilians, as per the duty to "protect and serve".(2) Give some extra weight to their own life, as per the standard prerogatives of self-interest. OR(3) Count both risks equally, and so seek to minimize innocent deaths (whether self or other) overall.Though the choice between these options might make a slight difference at the margins, the amount of "extra" weight that could be justified in either of the first two options is presumably limited in size.  So I take it that police should give close to equal weight to either type of risk.  They should not, for example, kill someone who is very likely to be innocent.In 'How many Police Shootings are Tragic Mistakes? How many can we Tolerate?' Christian Coons notes that (i) approximately 30 police are killed each year in the line of duty, whereas (ii) approx 600 people are killed by on-duty police each year.  How many of the latter constituted genuine mortal threats, and how many were "tragic mistakes"?  Coons notes that if assailants and police were equally likely to get in the first lethal shot, we could conclude that police collectively face approx 60 mortal threats per year. Adjusting for higher police firearm skill and body-armor (increasing police survival rate in the face of genuine threats) yields an estimate still below 150 mortal threats per year.While an extremely rough estimate, this analysis suggests that the vast majority of police shootings are "tragic mistakes" rather than objectively justified responses to genuine mortal threats.  If police are making. . .

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