The sheriff of America's most lethal police force said that killing suspects is "better financially" than injuring them, according to a video that was taken during his 2006 campaign.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood of Kern County, California, who is currently running for re-election, made the cruel remark while addressing other officers. The video surfaced recently when a local officers' union found it, the Guardian reported.
The video found Youngblood discussing the issue of police shootings and saying, “You know what happens when a guy makes a bad shooting on somebody and kills them? Three million bucks, and the family goes away after a long back and forth."
He went on to say, “Which way do you think is better financially — to cripple them or kill them — for the county?”
An unidentified man offscreen said “kill them."
“Absolutely," Youngblood replied, "because if they’re crippled, we get to take care of them for life. And that cost goes way up.”
Youngblood told KBFX news that the comments were taken out of context, adding "Do I wish I would've said it differently? Absolutely. When you listen to the verbiage, it doesn't sound good. But I think the people of this county know that's not what I mean."
In retrospect, Youngblood's words appear especially menacing given that Kern County has had an exceptionally high rate of police shooting deaths during the sheriff's tenure.
Although Kern County only has a population of 875,00, in 2015 the county had more police shooting deaths than any other county in America, according to the Guardian. During that same year, only nine people were killed by the NYPD in all of New York City, an area with 10 times the population and 23 times the number of officers.
The video was posted to Facebook by the Kern County Detention Officers Association, which opposes Youngblood's re-election. Three police unions in the area also oppose him.
The officers' associations that oppose Youngblood in combination with this video's major blow to his reputation may result in Youngblood being unseated and replaced by challenger Justin Fleeman. The election is in June, and this video revelation might make Fleeman look like the logical — and just — choice for Kern County voters.