Comply or Die: Why Do Police Have License to Kill With Impunity?

Rosalyn Morris
Published in
5 min readJul 6, 2022

Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

This is a conversation that won’t go away because the police continue to kill people.

Police can’t seem to stop murdering unarmed people, particularly Black people, because they refuse to deescalate situations, and they refuse to stop putting themselves and others in harm’s way.

I get it. The police are supposed to protect and serve. They are also authority figures who are entitled to respect from the public.

The problem is that American police have a corruption problem, a racism problem, a police brutality problem, and an accountability problem.

Compared to police in other wealthy democracies, American police kill civilians at incredibly high rates:

In the year that American police officers killed 1,099 people — Canadian police officers killed 36 people, Australian police officers killed 21 people, and Icelandic and Norwegian police officers killed ZERO people.

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If you compare the rates American police officers kill civilians, adjusted for population, US police officers still kill at an exponentially higher rate.

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What’s the problem?

There are several.

There’s a lack of empathy for Black lives. There’s also a criminalization of Black people simply for existing. This is why we say Black Lives Matter. There’s a belief that Black people have to be saintly in order to survive an altercation with police officers. We have to do everything perfectly. Unless you are Philando Castile, or a sleeping Breonna Taylor, you did something, or you potentially would have. Even a sleeping Breonna Taylor’s past was brought up, even though cops entered her apartment in the middle of the night with their no-knock warrant. The courtesies, considerations, and grace that is offered to others is not offered to Black people in America. See how this white man was brought in alive after killing