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Law enforcement officers kill thousands but few end in prosecutions, research shows

From 2005 until 2014 BGSU professor estimates about 10,000 Americans were shot and killed by police officers

In 2016 when Ocoee Police Officer Carlos Anglero was sent to the wrong house by dispatch, he ended up shooting several rounds through an innocent family’s front door.

No one was injured, but Anglero was charged with a second-degree felony, for shooting into an occupied building.

Orange-Osceola Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra prosecuted the case.

“Anyone is capable of committing a crime,” Barra said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. We’ve seen it throughout our history,”

Anglero took the stand and the jury ended up finding him guilty as charged.

“I feel I did the right thing. I prosecuted the case and I got a conviction,” Barra said.

But when it was time for the sentencing, Barra did not predict what happened next.

The judge withheld adjudication which means Anglero is not a convicted felon.

"I respectfully disagree with the outcome," Barra said.

"I can't think of another time in my 17 years as a prosecutor that the individual got a withhold in probation," Barra said.

"If the judge had adjudicated him guilty, he would be a convicted felon and would be no longer legally able to carry a firearm, so he absolutely could not be a police officer," she said.

Dr. Phil Stinson is a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

"Actually it does not surprise me," he said.

Stinson tracks law enforcement officer arrests and prosecutions around the country.

"We know from my own research that judges are similarly very reluctant to second guess police officers in their official conduct," Stinson said.

And those are the cases that actually make it to a courtroom.

Stinson started tracking law enforcement killings in 2005.

From 2005 until 2014 he estimates about 10,000 Americans were shot and killed by police officers.

His research shows that 110 officers were criminally charged in that decade.

Of those, 42 were convicted, 50 were not convicted and 18 of those cases are still pending, according to Stinson.

“It’s very difficult for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction even in cases of these shootings where we have strong video evidence,” Stinson said.

Of the 42 officers who were convicted from 2005 to 2014, five were convicted of murder, and 37 others were convicted of lesser charges, everything from manslaughter down to reckless discharge of a firearm for taking a life.

“It shows a bias towards police,” Barra said. “And that is very real and that prevents justice.”


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