By Kenneth Lipp
The Philadelphia Police Department has posted to its website a variety of data regarding Officer-Involved Shootings (OIS) in its jurisdiction, for the 5-year period 2007-2013. The posting includes visualizations as well as narratives describing gun incidents involving police officers, from on-duty shoot-outs with determined felons to personal arguments that devolve into gunplay involving off-duty cops.
According the Philly Police website: “An officer involved shooting (OIS) is the discharge of a firearm, whether accidental or intentional, by a police officer, whether on or off duty. For the purposes of this posting, an officer involved shooting will only refer to the instances in which an officer discharged a firearm at a person.”
The police website also presents data about general and violent crime trends, assaults against officers, and other geographic data in map and table form.
Included on the website is a long list with descriptions of incidents. An example:
On Saturday, 1/11/14, at approximately 9:32 P.M., uniformed officers, in a marked police vehicle, observed a male adjusting his waistband while standing with a group of people in front of a store, located in the 2800 block of Tasker Street. The officers summoned the male to their police vehicle, at which time the offender fled on foot to the 1600 block of S. Dover Street. One of the officers pursued the offender on foot and observed him remove a handgun from his waistband as he ran. The officer ordered the offender to drop the weapon. The offender did not comply, at which point the officer discharged his weapon, striking the offender. The offender dropped his weapon, but continued to run. The offender was apprehended in the 1700 block of S. 29th Street without further incident.
The offender’s .380 caliber weapon, loaded with eight live rounds, was recovered at the scene.
Not all of the incidents are from the line-of-duty. For instance, this incident last winter when an out of uniform officer discharged his firearm in a dispute that allegedly began after an “offender’s” inappropriate remarks toward the officer’s girlfriend:
On Saturday, 11/02/13, at approximately 11:47 P.M., an off-duty officer in civilian attire became involved in a verbal argument with an unknown male while leaving a property in the 6300 block of Chew Avenue. On-duty, uniformed officers observed the verbal argument and stopped to investigate. The off-duty officer informed the on-duty officers that the male had made inappropriate remarks toward his girlfriend. The on-duty officers separated the arguing parties and sent them on their separate ways; however, a short while later the male and the off-duty officer continued their argument and a physical encounter ensued. The off-duty officer observed the offender with a pair of brass knuckles, so he drew his weapon. The offender reached for the off-duty officer’s weapon and the off-duty officer discharged his weapon, missing the offender. Uniformed officers responded to the gunshot. The off-duty officer sustained some facial injuries, but refused medical attention.There were no injuries as a result of this discharge incident.