The sheriff of a California county with an outsized number of police shootings once said that it was “better financially" to kill suspects than wound them.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood was looking for an endorsement in 2006 when he posed the question, “When a deputy shoots somebody, which way is better financially? To cripple them or kill them for the county?”
“Kill them?” someone off camera asks before Youngblood answers “Absolutely.”
"Because if you cripple them you have to take care of them for life and that cost goes way up," he said.
The damning video was released Monday by the Kern County Detention Officers Association, one of three officers’ unions that had endorsed Youngblood’s upcoming election opponent and chief deputy Justin Fleeman.
Officers said that the county force, once labelled “America’s deadliest police," was "in desperate need of positive changes."
The Guardian profiled the county after 13 people killed by police in 2015. It had less than 900,000 people at the time, but more fatal shootings than New York, which had nine the same year.
Monday’s video, reportedly taken during an endorsement consideration interview, also saw Youngblood turn the loss of life at the hands of the police into a matter of dollars and cents.
“When a guy makes a bad shoot on somebody and kills them, $3 million dollars and the family goes away,” he said, comparing it to a jailhouse beating where many officers are present.
Youngblood then went on to compare the costs of killing someone versus wounding.
The sheriff told Bakersfield.com after the video release that his words were taken out of context and that he “never inferred that we should shoot to kill.”
He adeed that he wishes he had used different words.