On Thursday night, a man was shot and killed by Nampa Police. The police were called after someone spotted the man on the street with a firearm. During the response, police shot and killed the man. The man’s name has not been released. This shooting is the third police shooting in the state in as many weeks.
These shootings come during a year of police shootings impacting Idaho communities across the state. In fact, in February, there were five police shootings in a single week in Eastern Idaho. On August 6, Boise police officers gathered to do a roundtable addressing police shootings in their area — at the time there were five police shootings in less than four months. The roundtable focused on how the department investigates the shootings and the function of the Office of Police Accountability.
In the round table, the Boise police chief noted: “I often tell young officers this badge doesn’t make you right, it doesn’t make you wrong, it doesn’t make you stronger, it definitely doesn’t make you bulletproof, but what it does is it obligates you to protect and serve the public that needs to be served.”
As the state legislature gears up for the next session in 2022, gun violence prevention should be a priority. Police violence is a form of gun violence, and it is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable.
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. Between 2013-2020, 57 people were killed by police in Idaho — and Black people were more than three times as likely to be killed by police as white people during that time.
More information on gun violence in Idaho is available here.