Racial Disparity In Police Shootings Unchanged Over 5 Years
Over the past five years there has been no reduction in the racial disparity in fatal police shooting victims despite increased use of body cameras and closer media scrutiny, according to a new report by researchers at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.
Using information from a national database compiled and maintained by The Washington Post, researchers found that victims identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color , whether armed or unarmed, had significantly higher death rates compared with whites. And those numbers remained relatively unchanged from 2015 to May 2020. The report appears in the Oct. 27 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health.
While the data are already publicly available, the researchers decided to enter it into the scientific literature and present it using methods that are accepted by science as rigorous and robust. Its critical, said author Dowin Boatright, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Yale, that fatal police shootings of BIPOC are recognized and treated as a public health emergency.
Those killed by police on average are young people the average age for all victims is 34, Boatright said. For Black people, the average age is 30. For Hispanics killed, the average age is 33 for Native Americans, 31 and for white people, 38.
The National Violent Death Reporting System
NVDRS is a state-based surveillance system that links data on violent deaths from death certificates coroner/medical examiner reports and LE reports in an incident-based, confidential data set., Legal intervention deaths, as defined within NVDRS, are fatalities where the victim is killed by a LE officer acting while on duty. Fatalities resulting from LE action are included without regard to whether the death was intentional or legally justifiable. Data abstractors in each participating state review investigative findings from each data source and abstract information on incident circumstances and characteristics of victims and officers using standardized coding guidance. NVDRS also includes two narratives generated by the state abstractor containing a brief description of the incident based on information from the coroner/medical examiner and LE reports.
Us Police Shootings: How Many Die Each Year
On Sunday morning, three police officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge. This attack came just 10 days after five police officers were killed in Dallas. Both events were revenge attacks for the killing of young black men by police.
The bloodshed has shocked the US, leading President Barack Obama to call for calm. But how many police officers are killed in the US in a normal year? And how many people are killed by police?
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Black Americans Disproportionately Killed By Police
According to an analysis by Mapping Police Violence, despite only making up 13 percent of the US population, Black Americans are nearly three times as likely as white Americans to be killed by the police. The group also found that levels of violent crime in US cities do not determine rates of police violence.
A further analysis performed by policeviolencereport.org found that Black people were more likely to be killed by police , more likely to be unarmed and less likely to be threatening someone when killed .
Police Violence Is A Systemic Problem In The Us Not Simply Incidental And It Happens On A Scale Far Greater Than Other Wealthy Nations
There is no question that the number of police killings of civilians in the U.S. who are disproportionately Black and other people of color are the result of policies and practices that enable and even encourage police violence. Compared to police in other wealthy democracies, American police kill civilians at incredibly high rates:
The chart above compares the annual rates of police killings in each country, accounting for differences in population size. This is the most apples-to-apples comparison we can make with this data.1 But the total number of deaths at the hands of police is also worth seeing in comparison with other countries:
The sources for these charts are listed in the table below. For more statistics on police, arrests, and incarceration in the United States, see these other pages:
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Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns
That realization isn’t entirely new. After the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., news organizations started to keep their own tallies of police-related deaths, which turned out to be higher than the government’s numbers.
What Murray and his co-authors have done, though, is measure the discrepancy between independent tallies and the government data, and project it back in time.
“We’ve used those relationships of what fraction get underreported to go back and infer, for example, in the 1980s, what was the likely number of police violence deaths,” Murray says.
The researchers based their inferences on numbers from three open-source databases: Fatal Encounters, Mapping Police Violence and The Guardian‘s The Counted, which they compared with the data from the death certificates.
They calculate that the death certificates misclassified the cause of death on more than 17,000 such deaths since 1980.
“If it’s legit, it’s pretty cool how they can take existing data from a short time frame and work backwards,” says Justin Nix, associate professor of criminology at the University of Nebraska.
But as a criminologist who studies shootings by police, Nix has reservations about the underlying data.
“My concerns with this paper are the same as many that use these crowd-sourced databases,” he says. He has documented cases where the databases count, for example, domestic violence by off-duty officers as police killings.
Racial Inequities In Deaths Due To The Use Of Lethal Force
Recent public discourse has focused on racial disparities in legal intervention deaths. The current study found that, consistent with prior research,,,,, black victims were substantially over-represented relative to the U.S. population, comprising 34% of victims but only 13% of Americans,, and with legal intervention death rates 2.8 times higher than those among whites. Black victims were also more likely to be unarmed than whites or Hispanics, and less likely than whites to have evidence suggesting an immediate threat to LE. Incidents involving black and Hispanic victims were more likely to involve at least one black LE officer, potentially because of greater racial diversity in police departments located in areas with larger minority populations.
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Firing At Moving Vehicles Is A Contentious Practice Across The Country
A police officer in Waukesha, Wis., fired shots at the S.U.V. that barreled into a parade on Sunday, but had to stop because of the crowds nearby, Dan Thompson, chief of the Waukesha Police Department, said on Monday. No one was hit by gunfire, he said.
Police departments generally allow officers to shoot at drivers in moving vehicles who have already run someone over.
But shooting at moving vehicles is a contentious practice for police officers. It endangers passengers and passers-by. It often doesnt effectively stop the threat if the driver is injured or killed, the vehicle keeps moving.
On top of that, police academies dont give training in how to shoot at moving vehicles. Large departments ban the practice except for carve-outs set up in recent years for terrorist attacks like the one in which a truck killed dozens of people during a Bastille Day parade in 2016 in Nice, France.
After that attack, the New York Police Department, which banned shooting at moving vehicles in 1972, told officers that they could shoot at moving vehicles during similar vehicle ramming attacks.
This was a new form of terrorism, at least in the United States, said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a law enforcement policy nonprofit. And police had to rethink in those very specific situations, how do you stop someone from killing people?
Black Men Are More Likely To Be Fatally Shot While Unarmed
Compared to their numbers in the overall population, an unarmed black man is about four times more likely to be killed by police than an unarmed white man.
4.9 unarmed black men per 1 million
1.6 Hispanic men per 1 million
1.1 white men per 1 million
4.9 unarmed black men
1.6 Hispanic men per 1 million
1.1 white men per 1 million
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Darwin Darrin Barnell Foy
Webster City, Iowa
According to the Associated Press, 35-year-old Darwin Barnell Foy was shot and killed by Iowa State Troopers who said they were responding to a 911 call from a woman who said that a man had fired shots at her.
Police said they negotiated with Foy for hours but he threatened to shoot the woman within a specific amount of time. The troopers then went into the home and shot Foy.
Securing Parade Routes Is Challenging Even For The Countrys Largest Police Department
The tragedy at a parade in Waukesha came less than a week from one of the countrys best known events: the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Concern about intentional attacks on the parade have long driven law enforcement efforts to secure the route. And New York has seen vehicle ramming turn deadly at other crowded events in recent years.
In 2017, a driver who was apparently under the influence of drugs rammed into crowded sidewalks in Times Square, killing one and injuring more than 20 people before security barricades stopped him. And, later that same year, a 29-year-old man rammed his pickup truck into pedestrian traffic along the busy West Side Highway, killing eight and injuring 11.
More recently, in September 2020, a vehicle rammed through a crowd of demonstrators who were protesting police brutality in Times Square.
But the scale of the Thanksgiving parade in New York is so large that it is difficult to draw comparisons, a law enforcement official said. The parade for years has been seen as a high-value target for extremist and terror groups.
You cant really take an incident that occurs at a holiday parade in a relatively small city and compare it to what we do in New York City for that event, said John Miller, the deputy commissioner for the Police Departments Intelligence Bureau.
We dont worry. We plan, Mr. Miller said. Its a better use of our time.
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Claude Washington Fain Iii
CBS Philadelphia reported that 47-year-old Claude Washington Fain III was fatally shot by SWAT officers after authorities said they attempted to serve a warrant for his arrest.
Police said Fain fired at two state parole officers from a second-floor apartment. SWAT officers then exchanged gunfire with Fain, and killed him during the exchange.
How Many People Are Killed By Police
Thursday, July 14, 2016
How many people are killed by police?
Its a simple and important question, but, until this year, the shocking answer was we have no idea. There is no central authority systematically keeping track of killings by law enforcement, and police in most states are not required to report the use of lethal force to anyone.
Government Data: Worse than Useless
The FBIs annual crime report does keep track of homicides reported by police as justified killings by police. As defined by the FBI, justifiable homicide by law enforcement means the killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty. From 2000 to 2014, the FBI reported an average of 390 justifiable homicides by police each year, with a very slight upward trend.
The obvious question was, how many unjustifiable killings were committed by law enforcement? There is no report for that at all: unjustified homicides by police would, in theory, be recorded as generic murders. Moreover, because police departments themselves decide what is justifiable, theres plenty of room for doubt about whether all those homicides really were justified or whether police actually reported all of their killings.
So despite two federal databases, there was no clear picture on the number of police killings, and the data was hopelessly muddled by states and agencies not participating or reporting conflicting numbers.
A Post-Ferguson Accounting
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Here Is What We Know About The Suspect In The Parade Tragedy
Darrell E. Brooks, who is accused of driving a maroon 2010 Ford Escape into the Christmas parade in Waukesha, has a long, violent criminal history and was freed just six days ago on $1,000 bail after being accused of trying to run over his girlfriend with the same S.U.V.
Mr. Brooks, 39, who is from Milwaukee, has been charged with or convicted on an array of charges over the past 22 years, including battery, domestic violence, cocaine possession and resisting arrest in several jurisdictions in Wisconsin.
He has served at least two jail sentences and spent years on probation and in court-mandated work-release and anger management programs, records showed.
On Nov. 2, Mr. Brooks was arrested in Milwaukee after the mother of his child accused him of punching her in the face in a hotel room, then following her in his S.U.V. into the parking lot of a gas station, where he hit her with the car, according to the police.
Officers observed tire tracks on her left pants leg, wrote one of the officers, according to a criminal complaint, accompanying a charge of recklessly endangering the woman, which carries a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.
The woman was treated at a hospital for injuries that included facial cuts and bruises. The police observed swelling on her lip and dried blood on her face.
Mr. Brookss lawyer in the November case, Joseph T. Domask, said in a brief telephone interview that he could not comment on the case without his clients authorization.
Four Years In A Row Police Nationwide Fatally Shoot Nearly 1000 People
Fatal shootings by police are the rare outcomes of the millions of encounters between police officers and the public. Despite the unpredictable events that lead to the shootings, in each of the past four years police nationwide have shot and killed almost the same number of people nearly 1,000.
Last year police shot and killed 998 people, 11 more than the 987 they fatally shot in 2017. In 2016, police killed 963 people, and 995 in 2015.
Years of controversial police shootings, protests, heightened public awareness, local police reforms and increased officer training have had little effect on the annual total. Everyone agrees criminal justice researchers, academics and statisticians that all of the attention has not been enough to move the number.
Mathematicians, however, say that probability theory may offer one explanation. The theory holds that the quantity of rare events in huge populations tends to remain stable absent major societal changes, such as a fundamental shift in police culture or extreme restrictions on gun ownership, which are unlikely.
Just as vast numbers of randomly moving molecules, when put together, produce completely predictable behavior in a gas, so do vast numbers of human possibilities, each totally unpredictable in itself, when aggregated, produce an amazing predictability, said Sir David Spiegelhalter, a professor and statistician at the University of Cambridge who studies risk and uncertainty.
Case Identification And Narrative Coding
Cases in the current study originated from statewide data for the 17 states participating in NVDRS during the study period. All cases classified in NVDRS as legal intervention deaths or homicides in which the perpetrator was an LE officer were selected and narratives were reviewed to ensure they met the NVDRS case definition for legal intervention deaths. In addition to analysis of existing NVDRS variables, case narratives were reviewed and coded by the authors for an additional ten variables developed for the current study. These included:
police contact/incident directly related to concerns about the victims current psychological functioning and
LE contact or legal intervention involved intimate partner violence .
All narrative coding was completed by the authors. A randomly selected sample of 75 cases were coded in pairs. Inter-rater agreement ranged from 87.8% to 100% all discrepancies were discussed and coded to consensus. The remaining cases were coded independently with group discussion as needed.
More Than Half Of Police Killings Are Mislabeled New Study Says
Researchers comparing information from death certificates with data from organizations that track police killings in the United States identified a startling discrepancy.
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Police killings in America have been undercounted by more than half over the past four decades, according to a new study that raises pointed questions about racial bias among medical examiners and highlights the lack of reliable national record keeping on what has become a major public health and civil rights issue.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and published on Thursday in The Lancet, a major British medical journal, amounts to one of the most comprehensive looks at the scope of police violence in America, and the disproportionate impact on Black people.
Researchers compared information from a federal database known as the National Vital Statistics System, which collects death certificates, with recent data from three organizations that track police killings through news reports and public records requests. When extrapolating and modeling that data back decades, they identified a startling discrepancy: About 55 percent of fatal encounters with the police between 1980 and 2018 were listed as another cause of death.
A federal law passed in 2014 requiring law enforcement agencies to report deaths in custody has yet to produce any public data.
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