Facts Matter: Biden off on stats of police killed in line of duty
President Joe Biden, during a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earlier this month called for more funding to help out law enforcement.
"We expect our cops to be social workers. We expect them to be psychologists, mental health counselors," Biden said March 9 while speaking about his budget proposal. "You know, more cops are killed responding to domestic violence calls than anything else. Did you know that?"
It appears the people compiling the stats didn't know that. According to PolitiFact, Biden's numbers don't add up.
The FBI, which collects statistics about law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, categorizes police deaths as accidental, which includes traffic incidents as well as felonious acts, which are "a direct result of a willful and intentional act by an offender."
For the period from 2012 to 2021, the FBI reports 504 officers were feloniously killed. Of those, 68 officers were killed while responding to disturbance calls and 19 were related to domestic violence.
Although the president didn't specify what time period he was referring to, University of Arizona law professor Jordan Blair Woods told PolitiFact there was a different way to present it.
"A better statement would have been that 'domestic disturbance/violence incidents are one of the most common circumstances in which on-duty law enforcement officers are feloniously killed,'" he said.
HIV in the military not result of vaccine
A conservative radio host recently posted a claim about HIV in the military.
"The Armed Forces of the United States recorded a five hundred percent (500%) increase in AIDS after administering the COVID-19 Vaccine to US Troops. The COVID-19 Vaccine is implicated," political commentator Hal Turner wrote on his website, without offering any evidence.
But that amount is "massively exaggerated," data retrieved Associated Press show. Also, medical experts have said there is no link between the COVID-19 vaccine and developing HIV.
Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told the AP that 1,581 members of the military have been diagnosed with HIV since 2017, with an average of nearly 264 each year.
In 2020, when the COVID vaccine was first available in December, there were 237 cases of HIV in the military. In 2021, there were 309 cases, an increase of 72, or 30%. But in 2022 there were 124 cases, 185 fewer or a 60% decrease.
This data doesn't come close to the claim.
Schwegman told the AP these claims are common due to underreporting of data for the years 2016 to 2020 on the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database, an internal database that tracks medical experiences of service members.
"Comparison of 2021 to 2016-2020 resulted in the appearance of significant increased occurrence of all medical diagnoses in 2021 because of the underreported data for 2016-2020," Schwegman said.
No UFO over Wisconsin
Recent social media posts include a video purportedly showing an unidentified flying object in the sky over Wisconsin.
"This #UFO/#UAP video of a #TR3B was filmed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin," a Twitter user wrote in a post that included the two-minute clip.
But the video doesn't show an actual UFO, Reuters learned. The clip is computer-generated, and there is no evidence there was a UFO over Eau Claire.
"(The department was) not aware of any reports of this nature in the City of Eau Claire," Chad Hoyord, deputy chief of the Eau Claire Police, told Reuters.
The video, which has been around for a while, was debunked by Dean Guiliotis of UFO Theater in 2014.
"My first clue was that it was far too sharp and clear, and the camera movement looked unnatural, exactly the kind of thing you would see if you used a bit of code to create simple, random movement," he told Reuters.
No living dinosaurs found in China
A Facebook user posted a video last month that showed small dinosaurs being held and touched by people.
"China 1st it was coronavirus now they're cloning dinosaurs," reads text at the start of the video. A narrator then says the video came from an anonymous source.
"The source reported that scientists were using DNA and tissue remains of an actual dinosaur, and making its clone copies," the narrator says.
But the dinosaurs in the clip aren't real, and they're not in China. USA Today reported they're animatronic puppets from the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World film franchises.
The puppets are part of the Jurassic Park Dinosaur Meet & Greet event held at Universal Studios in Japan.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.