What The Data Say About Police Shootings
On Tuesday 6 August, the police shot and killed a schoolteacher outside his home in Shaler Township, Pennsylvania. He had reportedly pointed a gun at the officers. In Grants Pass, Oregon, that same day, a 39-year-old man was shot and killed after an altercation with police in the state police office. And in Henderson, Nevada, that evening, an officer shot and injured a 15-year-old suspected of robbing a convenience store. The boy reportedly had an object in his hand that the police later confirmed was not a deadly weapon.
In the United States, police officers fatally shoot about three people per day on average, a number thats close to the yearly totals for other wealthy nations. But data on these deadly encounters have been hard to come by.
A pair of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by the police pushed this reality into the headlines in summer 2014. Waves of public protests broke out after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death by chokehold of Eric Garner in New York City.
It is this awesome power that they have that no other profession has, says Justin Nix, a criminologist at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Lets keep track of it.
We need to standardize definitions and start counting, says Stoughton. As the old saying goes, What gets measured, gets managed.
Spotlight On A Blind Spot
In December 2014, spurred by unrest in the wake of Ferguson, then-US president, Barack Obama, created a task force to investigate policing practices. The group issued a report five months later, highlighting a need for expanded research and data collection . The data historically collected by the federal government on fatal shootings were sorely lacking. Almost two years later, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation responded with a pilot project to create an online national database of fatal and non-fatal use of force by law-enforcement officers. The FBI director at the time, James Comey, called the lack of comprehensive national data unacceptable and embarrassing.
Full data collection started this year. But outsiders had already begun to gather the data in the interests of informing the public. The database considered to be the most complete is maintained by The Washington Post. In 2015, the newspaper began collecting information on fatal shootings from local news reports, public records and social media. Its records indicate that police officers shoot and kill around 1,000 civilians each year about twice the number previously counted by the FBI.
Body cameras worn by police officers can capture crucial information.Credit: Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office/Reuters
Dreasjon Sean Dadon Reed
According to the Indianapolis Star, 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed was fatally shot by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police.
Police said the encounter began when officers saw Reed driving recklessly. Video surveillance cited by the Star shows that Reed later parked and ran away from the car, prompting an officer to chase after him.
Police said the officer tried to use a stun gun on Reed, but that it was ineffective. An altercation ensued and the officer shot Reed, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they recovered a loaded gun near Reed that had been fired at least once, but the family denies the claim. Part of the incident was recorded on Facebook Live from Reed’s phone. In it, more than a dozen shots were heard, as well as someone saying “I think it’s going to be a closed casket, homie.”
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The Claim: Us Police Killed Eight Unarmed Black Men In 2019
In response to the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd, Charlie Kirk, the founder and president of the conservative group Turning Point USA, posted a statement on Facebook.
Kirk claimed in a during the Blackout Tuesday campaign that, according to the Washington Posts database of police shootings, police killed eight unarmed Black men in 2019. Other Facebook pages have reposted the video, adding to its viewership.
Kirk uses this figure while arguing that systemic racism does not exist within law enforcement. He did not mention in the video that Black Americans make up 13% of the population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans, as the Post reported. He also did not mention, as explained by Naomi Zack in her book on racial profiling and police homicide that “when 4.4 million random stop and frisks were conducted in New York City, during the period from 2004 2012, even though Blacks were disproportionately singled out, the incidence of further police action was less for Blacks than for whites.”
Kirk’s claim that police killed eight unarmed Black men in 2019 is incorrect for several reasons.
Officer And Civilian Characteristics
To test whether officer characteristics predict the race of a person fatally shot, we regressed victim race against all officer and civilian predictors. Predictors and coefficients for this model are reported in . For all effects, we report odds ratios comparing Black or Hispanic individuals to Whites and 95% CIs . In terms of officer race, as the percentage of Black officers who shot in a FOIS increased, a person fatally shot was more likely to be Black than White. As the percentage of Hispanic officers who shot in a FOIS increased, a person fatally shot was more likely to be Hispanic or Black than White. The number of officers, percentage of female officers, and average experience of officers did not predict civilian race. Older civilians were 1.85 times less likely to be Black than White and 1.75 times less likely to be Hispanic than White. Suicidal civilians were 3.57 times less likely to be Black than White. In sum, as the percentage of Black or Hispanic officers increased, the likelihood that a civilian fatally shot was Black or Hispanic also increased.
Predicting Race from Officer and Civilian Factors
Predicting Race from Officer, Civilian, and County Factors
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Michael Brown Aug 9 2014
Unarmed Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
In November, a grand jury declined to charge Wilson in the fatal shooting. Browns death and the lack of charges against Wilson sparked protests, some of them violent, in Ferguson and across the nation.
On March 4, the Department of Justice announced that it too would not charge Wilson for the shooting after an exhaustive investigation.
Video of shoplifting incident moments before police encounterDorian Johnsons interview, what started hands up, dont shootWitness on the scene backs up Wilson in overheard cell phone audio.YouTube has removed the video.
Officer: Not charged
Award: $1.5 million
How Many Police Killed Each Year By Criminals Particularly Black Criminals Go Unnoticed
Police deaths from 2014-2019 were 945. Of those, 307 were classified as felonious. Officers are also assaulted and average of 49,500 times annually, resulting in 13,659 injuries per year over the last decade. Found here
Blacks committed 99 of the 307 murders of officers from 2014-2019.
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What Is Blue Lives Matter
The countermovement claims to support local law enforcement, but its supporters have been accused of racism
- Blue Lives Matter is known to be a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement
- Those who display the flag insist it is to honor the men and women in blue, as well as fallen officers
- However, opponents of the movement say it has become a symbol of racism
- The flag is said to have some racist connotations after being spotted alongside Confederate flags at the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, reported NPR
Dante Parker Aug 12 2014
Dante Parker, a 36-year-old father of five, died in police custody after being repeatedly stunned by a Taser in San Bernardino County. Article about the incident and more on Parker here.
The local investigation is still ongoing, but the NAACP has called for the federal government to take over, according to the San Bernadino Sun.
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Fbi Releases 2016 Statistics For Law Enforcement Officers Killed And Assaulted In The Line Of Duty
According to statistics collected by the FBI, 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2016. Of these, 66 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 52 officers died in accidents. In addition, 57,180 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury are included in the 2016 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.
The 66 felonious deaths occurred in 29 states and in Puerto Rico. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2016 increased by 25 when compared with the 41 officers who were feloniously killed in 2015. The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 17 felonious deaths compared with the 2012 figure and an increase of eight deaths compared with 2007 data .
Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 40 years old. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the times of the fatal incidents. Of the 66 officers, 64 were male, and two were female. Sixty-one of the officers were white, four were black/African-American, and one was Asian/Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
Circumstances: At the time the 66 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed:
Circumstances: Of the 52 officers accidentally killed:
The Role Of Mental Illness And Suicide In Deaths Due To The Use Of Lethal Force
Agencies of LE frequently serve as first-line responders to mental health emergencies, including crises involving violence., Officers in a study of three U.S. cities reported responding to an average of 6.4 calls/month involving mental health crises. About 20% of people hospitalized for severe mental illness, in another study, had been arrested or picked up by police for a suspected crime in the prior 4-month period. Indeed, two decades of research have documented high rates of LE contact, arrest, and incarceration rates for individuals with mental illness. Officers often report feeling inadequately trained to assess and respond effectively as gatekeepers for both the criminal justice and mental health systems, and community leaders have raised concerns for many years about the safety of citizens with mental health crises who often encounter, and rely on, LE.,,,
Related incidents in which the victim engaged in life-threatening or criminal behavior to provoke the use of lethal force by policewidely referred to as suicide by cophave also been recognized by LE and criminal justice researchers for several decades as a unique challenge. In the current study, 17.9% of fatalities due to the use of force were identified as potential suicide by cop incidents, a number within range of prior estimates.,
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When Public Officials Spread Health Misinformation Be Quick To Point It Out: A Tip Sheet
Some politicians, public officials and a handful of physicians are spreading misinformation. Its important for journalists to debunk falsehoods high up in their stories, avoid false balance, and dig into the motives.
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Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns
Demonstrators raise their arms and chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in August 2014 as they protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.hide caption
Demonstrators raise their arms and chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in August 2014 as they protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Ronell Foster was riding his bicycle through the hushed streets of Vallejo, Calif., one evening when a police officer noticed that the bike had no lights and that he was weaving in and out of traffic.
The officer, Ryan McMahon, went after Foster with lights flashing, siren blaring and the car’s spotlight pointed directly at him. Foster stopped. The pair exchanged words before Foster, who was on community supervision for a car theft conviction a month earlier, fled, eventually ditching the bicycle. McMahon caught up with Foster and jumped on top of him. The two struggled. McMahon, a rookie on the force, used a Taser on the father of two and struck him several times with his department-issued flashlight. Gunfire erupted seven shots total. When it was over, Foster, 33, lay dying in the bushes in a darkened courtyard near an apartment complex.
Ronell Foster was fatally shot by Vallejo, Calif., police Officer Ryan McMahon in 2018 after being stopped for riding his bicycle without a light. Foster was unarmed. Foster familyhide caption
A year later, he shot again.
Among NPR’s other findings:
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Tamir Rice Nov 22 2014
Tamir Rice, 12, was shot and killed by Cleveland police after officers mistook his toy gun for a real weapon.
The two police officers involved, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, have not been charged.
Rices family has filed wrongful death lawsuit against the officers and the city of Cleveland.
Officer: No charges were filed
Award: $6 million
Do Racial Disparities In Fois Vary By Type Of Shooting
We conducted a set of regression models to test whether a person fatally shot was more likely to be Black than White in certain types of FOIS. In this set of models, we strategically centered predictors to identify racial disparities across shooting types. When all predictors are centered or effects coded, the test of the intercept indicates racial disparities in the average shooting. This provides an estimate of racial disparities across all shootings. When categorical predictors are dummy-coded so that zero represents the absence of the factor, model intercepts reflect whether anti-Black and anti-Hispanic racial disparity was observed for this type of shooting . When continuous predictors are centered a SD below the mean, model intercepts reflect whether anti-Black and anti-Hispanic racial disparity was observed for this type of shooting . We tested racial disparities across all types of shootings as defined by civilian and officer factors.
reports tests of racial disparities by type of shooting. Model 0 tests whether there is evidence of racial disparity in the typical shooting . Controlling for predictors at the civilian, officer, and county levels, a person fatally shot by police was 6.67 times less likely to be Black than White and 3.33 times less likely to be Hispanic than White. Thus, in the typical shooting, we did not find evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity.
Racial Disparity in Civilian Race by Shooting Type
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How Many Black Men Have Been Killed This Year
Of the 765 people killed by police in 2020, 28 percent of them have been black people – despite comprising only 13 percent of the US population.
Police brutality in America has sparked an ongoing battle between communities marching with Black Lives Matter protesters and Blue Lives Matter supporters.
Global demonstrations have also taken place to protest the harsh treatment of black people by law enforcement.
Protests in places including Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon have resulted in civilian deaths, hundreds of arrests and continuous unrest for months at a time.
Sandra Bland* Jul 13 2015
Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old black woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a pretextual traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide.
Officer: Not charged
Record: Sandra Bland had numerous encounters with police in two states
Award: $1.9 million
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Black On Black Crime Specifically Murder For 2014
A 5-year period of FBI data collected from participating departments around the country showed that on average at least 2,776 blacks are killed by 2,476 black suspects, or 89%. By contrast, whites kill blacks at a rate of 8.3% . Blacks kill 15.4% of white victims with an average of 513 per year of 3,313 white homicides.
The data is gathered from departments that voluntarily report their numbers to the FBI. The data does not include the entire country. However, the numbers are remarkably consistent year over year.
This study from 2002 to 2011 showed an average of 16,128 homicides per year in the United States. Of that, 7,980 deaths per year were black or 49% of all victims. Whites made up 7,729 per year or 47% of all victims. Total black homicide deaths surpassed total white homicide deaths in 9 of the 10 years in this time frame.
Combining the data from both studies shows:
- 7,980 blacks are murdered per year
- 7,102 blacks kill other blacks per year
- 1,190 whites are murdered by blacks per year
- 662 blacks are murdered by whites per year
Freddie Gray April 19 2015
Freddie Gray, 25, died of a spinal cord injury a week after he was arrested by Baltimore police.
Its still unclear how Gray sustained the injury. Officials say he was stopped after fleeing unprovoked upon noticing police presence and arrested for allegedly possessing a switchblade.
He was put in a police van, which is where police say he suffered a medical emergency. The officers involved in his arrest were placed on leave, and on Friday, the states attorney announced that they had been criminally charged in connection with Grays homicide.
Gray has a criminal record for drugs and minor crimes and had spent time in jail.
Officers: tried and not convicted
William Porter: miss-trial and then all charges droppedCaesar Goodson Jr.: Found not guilty on all chargesEdward Nero: Found not guilty on all chargesGrant Miller: All charges droppedBrian Rice: Found not guiltyAlicia White: All charges dropped
Award: $6.4 million
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