New data shows that American police officers killed more than 1,000 civilians last year – a record high for law enforcement. Also, a possibly illegal database of financial transactions has been kept for years by the Arizona state government. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: New data shows that American police officers killed more than a thousand civilians just last year, a record high for law enforcement. This case, this case, I mean, this story came out in Truthout, go ahead and pick it up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So what we’re looking at is 1,176 people in the year 2022 killed by police officers. Some of them, about a third of them were involved in violent situations. So those are situations where the suspect may be pointing a gun at the police officer, could be in the process of attacking them.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: So as unfortunate as those are, those are situations where it would be classified as provoked.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: What concerns me is the number of times that individuals were shot and killed during wellness checks, during a mental health call.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Those are situations where police officers should not be the ones to respond. And to me, that, that, that’s the problem here.

Mike Papantonio: Well, they, in Europe for example, they have special people that go out and respond to that kind of thing.

Farron Cousins: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: That’s, so that’s your point.

Farron Cousins: Or we could send the, the firefighters out there, especially if it’s somebody who’s clearly having a mental health crisis, they don’t know where they are, who they are. A armed police officer should not approach that individual. It’s gonna make the situation worse as we’ve seen.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. There, there, there’s another side to it and that side is, if you just do a little bit of research on it, you see that there is a, there’s an angst that has been as bad as it’s ever been with police officers nowadays. I mean, the fear, I mean, it’s just abject fear. They see the stories where you’re sitting in your police car and somebody comes up and shoots you. Standing on the street, somebody comes up and shoots you behind. These are real stories. I mean, if you follow the news, just all you gotta do is headlines, headlines, headlines.

Farron Cousins: We had one right down the road here, not long ago.

Mike Papantonio: Exactly. So the numbers, what’s causing this angst has to do with the numbers. I mean, that’s what the police unions are saying. They say, look, we had 2,400 victims, police officers that were shot, they were shot, some of them were killed. We had 1,100 victims of knife attacks and club attacks that took place. And what that’s doing is it’s putting the police officer in a heightened sense of protection. That’s, this is what they’re saying and they’re, they’ve got pretty good, they’ve got pretty good data to show it. But it’s, it’s, it’s way beyond that. I think a lot of it has to do with basic training. If we have, this is the reality, then we have to train around that reality, don’t we?

Farron Cousins: We, we need better deescalation tactics with these police officers. And that’s something we, you and I have talked about for well over a decade, because we have plenty of cops who are more than willing to go out there, shoot first, ask questions later. We’ve got plenty of cops who are also reluctant to do it and end up in a situation where they have no choice. We have to also understand that’s a reality.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: So what we have to have, first of all, is a distinction of those two scenarios. But in the case where you just have these trigger happy cops, there has to be better deescalation, there has to be better training because again, this doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: This is a uniquely American phenomenon. And part of the reason too that we do see the cops so fearful these days is because with the prevalence of guns.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, they are fearful because of that. I mean.

Farron Cousins: They’re making easier to get ’em. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. They, they don’t, a policeman in, in say the UK, these numbers don’t look like this in the UK.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, 2,400 police victims shot, you know, not, not all of ’em killed, but shot in the, in the process of making an arrest, 1,100 of knife attacks and club attacks. So that heightens, I guess, sense of fear. I mean, I, I can see that. It, it, it has to play into there. But then your point I think is, okay, we, we know that’s a reality, so let’s adjust to it and let’s train around that, that kind of.

Farron Cousins: Well, and look, if you talk to these police unions, you’re not gonna find bigger supporters of gun control in the United States.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, thats true.

Farron Cousins: Than these groups.

Mike Papantonio: That’s true.

Farron Cousins: Because they understand they are on the front lines and they do see the real danger that everybody having a gun poses to society. And as you showed there with the numbers too, they’re on the other side of it as well.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. There, I think overall there was a 60%, 60% increase in violence against police. Not just while they’re making an arrest, when they’re sitting in their police car, when they’re walking down the street, a 60% increase in that level of violence.

Mike Papantonio: A possibly illegal database of financial transactions have been kept for years by the Arizona State government. Wow. Go ahead, go ahead with this story.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. This is one of those things that we always talk about, about with the slippery slope of things. And this is exactly what we’ve got here. You’ve got the Arizona secretary of State basically, or Attorney General, excuse me. And years and years ago, all the way back to the Bush administration, they said, listen, we got a lot of crime.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: So what we need to do, Department of Homeland Security, is we need to be able to monitor these financial transactions going through, you know, Western Union and MoneyGram. That’s how the criminals are moving the money. And we can get that and we can take care of it. Give us the authority to do it. So Homeland Security says, yeah, go ahead and do it. Well, it only took a couple years before the state of Arizona thought, you know what? We don’t just have to, we’ve been given a blank check, we don’t have to just look at the criminals. We can analyze any money transfer.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: And so what.

Mike Papantonio: Over five, $500.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, over $500. So what they started doing was without warrants of any kind, they would issue what’s been described as fake subpoenas to these money organizations getting all the records from these individuals that were not under investigation.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it’s part of the way to deal with immigrants to say, well, we can follow what you’re doing.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You, you wrote an interesting, you, you sent this story to me, top of the story. This is your, my take on the following story is that they continue to go after the migrant, migrants working in America, not the companies that are illegally employing them. And so this is kind of one of the things you’re talking about here.

Farron Cousins: It is.

Mike Papantonio: This is how let’s go target that migrant worker who might be sending $500 back home so the family can live back in Mexico or El Salvador, wherever it is. Correct?

Farron Cousins: Right. And, and they’re getting paid under the table. You know, the boss of whatever it is, whatever, you know, small factory or, or, you know, yard maintenance service is huge. They’ll pay ’em in cash.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: They take that cash to a Western Union, say, I need to get this $500 to Mexico, because that’s where they were looking at the transfers going. And so then when immigration comes to crack down on these people, they’re not going to the employer.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: They’re going to the individual.

Mike Papantonio: The chicken farms.

Farron Cousins: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: The, the, the big massive cattle, you know, it, it’s, it’s nobody else will take these jobs is their position right now.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, that’s what Davos, Davos, Switzerland, that was kind of their talking point. We have to bring ’em in because Americans just don’t wanna work. That was really what they said out there because, so we have to let ’em out over the border. Now your point being is we let ’em over the border, they take the job that we expect ’em to take, and then organizations like this go target them for sending $500 back home because they know where they live now.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You know.

Farron Cousins: And, and so then they take that migrant, the immigrant ship ’em back. Then the employer just says, okay, they’ll be another one tomorrow. So I’m fine. I can keep doing this.

Mike Papantonio: And, and I can pay ’em substandard wages. If they break their arm, I send them back to Mexico. If the, if they’re, if they’re killed on the job, I send ’em in a body bag back to Mexico. I don’t have any responsibility after that. That’s what this is all about. And that’s what kind of Davos, that’s what they were talking about in Davos, Switzerland. That’s, this is great. This is great. US Chamber of Commerce loves this.

Farron Cousins: They do.

Mike Papantonio: They’re behind this. But the US Chamber of Commerce won’t say, hey, wait just a second. Why are you going after these people that came here to work that you’re, you’re telling the American public that Americans are too lazy to work? So we’re bringing in these folks and now you’re targeting them. It’s an ugly story all the way around.

Farron Cousins: Well, you know, just a couple years ago there was a big migrant worker bust at a, it was a food packing plant, it was Mississippi or Louisiana.

Mike Papantonio: Mississippi. Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But, so they haul out about one to 200 immigrants. They have them outside. All of them are in handcuffs and they ship ’em all back.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And that was the last we heard of that story. There were no prosecutions for the owners, the managers, nothing.

Mike Papantonio: No.

Farron Cousins: I mean, the people’s kids were being dropped off there at the factory from school. They come out to see their parents in handcuffs.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: It, it was sick because they punished the people who were literally just doing a job. They’re not breaking the law. They’re doing a job.

Mike Papantonio: In other words, everything that Davos, Switzerland was talking about comes to pass. And when it comes to pass, they make it even tougher. They go after the workers that they’re saying, hey, come to the US because we need your, we need you to work here.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.