Tags: Law Enforcement | law enforcement | suicide by cop

Suicide By Cop: Real Phenomena or Cruel Joke?

By    |   Thursday, 18 June 2015 05:16 PM

Corey Lewis apparently planned his own death at the hands of police, potentially part of a growing phenomena known as "suicide by cop."

The 39-year-old Okotoks, Alberta, man in July 2010 took a kneeling stance, raised an apparent weapon to his shoulder and pointed it at a police officer who had responded to a domestic assault report at his home, prompting the officer to fatally shoot him, reported CBC Canada. Police found the object Lewis carried was an umbrella, duct-taped to his hand; they also found a note inside his front door suggesting Lewis planned to die as a suicide by cop, a situation in which a suicidal person behaves in a threatening manner to try to provoke a law enforcement officer to kill him or her.

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Suicidal people have been forcing the police to act as their executioners since at least the mid-1980s, CBC Canada said. A 2009 study found 36 percent of officer-involved shootings in a large sample from the U.S. and Canada were considered suicide by cop.

Such incidents are extremely dangerous to police officers because they never know if the individual will try to kill them, too, according to Suicide.org. "Some suicidal individuals will point an empty gun at the police because they know that the police will shoot back in self-defense," the website said. "Yet others will have a loaded gun and will want to kill as many police officers as possible before they die."

Most police officers who are involved in suicide by cop incidents suffer emotional difficulties afterwards and sometimes even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, said Suicide.org. That website added that some people who die from suicide by cop leave notes explaining their reasons for taking their actions, and sometimes they apologize to the officers.

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Profiling shows those who commit suicide by cop tend to be men who are members of a lower socio-economic class, wrote Clinton Van Zandt, a supervisory special agent for the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, in an article published by Van Zandt Associates Inc.

Van Zandt said this of the person who commits suicide by cop: "He may seek to destroy himself because of depression, desperation, and/or a need to punish society – by his death – for the 'wrongs' it has committed against him. Because of his aggressive life style, poor self-concept, and individual social standards, he may not view death at his own hands (suicide) as a socially acceptable method of death, therefore he may confront law enforcement officers in a way that he knows will require them to use deadly force."

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Corey Lewis apparently planned his own death at the hands of police, potentially part of a growing phenomena known as suicide by cop.
law enforcement, suicide by cop
Thursday, 18 June 2015 05:16 PM
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