Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns
The trials outcome was highly anticipated and the guilty verdict not necessarily guaranteed: While Floyds killing ignited a wave of protests against racism and police brutality nationwide and around the world, convictions of police officers over on-duty shootings are rare.
In fact, Chauvin is believed to be just the second officer to be convicted in an on-duty death case in Minnesotas history.
Between 2005 and Floyds murder last year, only five non-federal law enforcement officers were convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting and not had the conviction later overturned, according to Philip Stinson at The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
And its impossible to ignore the role that race plays in such events, with many of these shootings involving white officers and Black victims. In fact, an NPR investigation published this year revealed that police officers have fatally shot at least 135 Black men and women across the country since 2015, with at least 75% of the officers identifying as white.
Heres a look at the outcomes of several high-profile cases in recent years.
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Police Killings By Country 2021
Thousands of people around the world are killed by law enforcement, both on- and off-duty. Police officers in the United States shoot and kill hundreds of people every year, far more than comparable developed countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
In the United States, police shootings have sparked protests across the country, such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year-old African-American student who was shot and killed in 2012. His killer, George Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch coordinator of a gated community where Trayvon visited relatives. Zimmerman was acquitted at trial for Trayvons death, claiming self-defense. A Change.org petition calling for Zimmermans arrest collected over 2.2 million signatures, the most massive petition in the websites history.
The Washington Post has kept track of police shootings in the United States since 2015. Between 2015 and 2018, U.S. police have killed 3,309 people. In 2019, U.S. police killed 1,099 people, 24% of whom were black.
Location matters when it comes to police killings, both in U.S. states and around the world. Black persons in Oklahoma are six times more likely to be killed by police than those in Georgia. Additionally, eight of the 100 largest police departments in the United States kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate. These departments are Reno, Oklahoma City, Santa Ana, Anaheim, St. Louis City, Scottsdale, Hialeah, and Madison.
Fact Check: False Data On Us Racial Murder Rates
4 Min Read
Users on social media are sharing an image that features misleading data on black and white murder rates. Based on existing U.S. government data, all the figures are false.
The image alleges, for example, that 81% of white murder victims are killed by Blacks. Data from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice show on the contrary that more than 80% of white murder victims are killed by whites.
The image lists the following categories: whites killing blacks 2%, police killing whites 3%, whites killing whites 16%, blacks killing whites 81%, police killing blacks 1% and blacks killing blacks 97%. No dates are specified, and the data is attributed to stats from Wikipedia.
In the Homicide section of Wikipedias Race and Crime in the United States entry here , the site quotes a report by the U.S. Department of Justice visible here . The report, which analyzes Homicide Trends in the U.S. between 1980-2008, found that within that period most murders were intraracial, with 84% of white victims killed by whites and 93% of Black victims killed by Black perpetrators.
According to the FBIs Expanded Homicide data from 2018, the most recent report of this kind Reuters was able to find , 80.7% of the murders of white people were committed by white offenders while 15.5% of the murders of white people were committed by Black offenders .
October 1985 Pc Keith Blakelock
The 40-year-old father-of-three, was hacked to death during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985.
He was surrounded by a mob of around 50 people and received over 40 injuries inflicted by machetes or similar, and was found with a six-inch-long knife in his neck.
Winston Silcott, along with two other men, was found guilty of his murder but in 1991 their convictions were overturned on appeal.
What Does Armed Mean
Sometimes the concept of armed is complicated.
I personally dont think my nephew was trying to hurt anybody. I dont think he was going to use that vehicle as a weapon at all, Wellington said. I think he was doing what a scared 15-year-old person might do if someone pointed a gun in their face and a flashlight, and that is run.
Wellington believes police failed his nephew.
These officers forgot my nephew is a member of the community and placed the importance of recovering a stolen vehicle over the value of a life. To me thats pretty callous, he said.
I dont believe that these officers have a real commitment in these moments of making sure that everyone survives this encounter. I believe that that is a failing of policing.
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Cities And States With The Highest And Lowest Levels Of Police Violence
Over the past year since Floyd was murdered, 25 states saw a decrease, 19 states an increase and seven states had the same number of police killings compared with the same period a year ago.
New Mexico had the highest rate of police killings at 10 people killed by police for every million inhabitants followed by Montana and Alaska, both with 8 people killed per million inhabitants. The East Coast states of New Jersey, followed by Connecticut and Rhode Island, had the fewest police killings at less than 1 person per million inhabitants over the past 12 months.
The rate in the state of Minnesota, where George Floyd lived, increased from 10 police killings per million inhabitants the year before Floyd was killed to 13 one year after his murder. This includes Daunte Wright who was shot and killed by police officer Kim Potter during a police stop on April 11, 2021.
February 2013 Pc Phillipa Reynolds
PC Philippa Reynolds had served in the Police Service of Northern Ireland for two years.
In February 2013, the 27-year-old and two colleagues were on patrol in an unmarked police car. Their car was hit by a stolen car that went through a red light.
PC Reynolds was the back seat passenger when the vehicle was struck by a stolen 4×4 vehicle that had been travelling up to 80mph.
CCTV camera evidence showed the driver, Shane Frane, driving the car through red traffic lights and hitting an unmarked police car. The two officers in the front car were injured.
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Number Of Officers Killed Hits 2nd
Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the number of officers killed in the line of duty in 2016. Last year, 143 officers died in the line of duty, with 66 of them shot and killed.
The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty dropped sharply in 2017, marking the second-lowest toll in more than 50 years.
As of Thursday, 128 officers have died in the line of duty this year, with 44 shot and killed. That’s down 10% from 2016, when 143 officers died, with 66 gunned down, according to data released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit aimed at honoring officers and improving safety.
The only other year with fewer deaths in the past five decades was 2013, when 116 officers were killed.
“This is one of those good-news, bad-news situations,” said Craig Floyd, president and chief executive of the fund. “On one hand, you had 128 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, showing the cost of public safety, but for the first time since 2013, the number of deaths has actually declined.”
Reasons for the drop could range from advanced safety gear such as bulletproof vests, better training, better relationships and reduced violence in communities or just 2017 being an outlier, experts say.
Texas, as in previous years, tallied the highest number of law enforcement officers killed on the job with 14 deaths, followed by Florida and New York, both with nine deaths.
Fbi Releases Statistics For Law Enforcement Officers Assaulted And Killed In The Line Of Duty
According to statistics reported to the FBI, 59 police officers were killed in the line of duty from January 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021. This marks a 51 percent increase in the number of police officers killed when compared to the same period last year.
Nationally, 60,105 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties in 2020. These assaults were reported to the FBI by 9,895 law enforcement agencies. Based on these reports, there were 4,071 more officers assaulted in 2020 than the 56,034 assaults reported in 2019.
In an interview during Police Week events last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray reflected on the sacrifices of the Bureaus law enforcement partners, who risk their safety to protect the public. We are looking at now 59 officers or agents murdered in the line of duty this year. Thats an over 50 percent increase from last year. That basically translates to every five daysmore often than every five days in this countryan officer is murdered in the line of duty. And thats totally unacceptable, and its a tragedy and it needs attention, Wray said.
The statistics released this week are a stark reminder of the dangerous work done by law enforcement every day, said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. The FBI values our partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. We will continue to assist and offer resources when called upon. Nationally
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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.
Law Enforcement Officers Dying In The Line Of Duty Spiking Across America
Police deaths mirror the increase in violent crime across the country. There were 56 shootings of four or more people in May, the highest number of mass shootings of any month since the Gun Violence Archive, a research nonprofit, started tracking the data in 2013. Homicides are up by 20 percent or more in cities large and small.
Included among the deaths has been a litany of police killings.
Last month in California, two police officers were shot and killed in two separate incidents.
In April, a Capitol police officer was killed when a man drove into him as he rammed a barrier.
In February, two FBI agents were shot and killed in Miami while attempting to serve an arrest warrant in a child pornography case.
The FBI director revealed to Congress Tuesday he has made a condolence call each time it happens.
Since August of 2017 when I started in this job, Ive made more than 200 of those calls, he said. And with each one I think about the friends and family members rocked by the loss of a loved one, the careers cut short and the communities hurting.
He added, It takes a pretty special person to get up in the morning and put his or her life on the line for a total stranger.
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Police Violence And Gun Ownership
The role of gun prevalence in police violence is another area that has recently garnered attention. Some recent research has found a connection between the number of households who own guns in a state and the rate of police violence in those states. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Urban Health found that fatal police shootings were 40 percent more likely in states with higher rates of gun ownership.
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Us Police Have Killed Nearly 600 People In Traffic Stops Since 2017 Data Shows
Deaths continue apace this year, with Black victims disproportionately harmed, amid calls to reduce traffic encounters
Police in the US have killed nearly 600 people during traffic stops since 2017, with the deaths continuing apace this year, a review of national police violence data shows.
The numbers add urgency to the growing push from advocates to prevent deadly stops and remove officers from traffic enforcement following the police killing of Patrick Lyoya, a Black Michigan man, earlier this month.
Encounters with police during traffic stops, including minor infractions, disproportionately harm people of color, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence, a non-profit research group, which argues that armed police should not be involved in many of these cases.
About 10% of the roughly 1,100 people killed by police each year involve traffic violations, the group found.
We often see the most extreme examples on the news, but this is something that happens so frequently, said Samuel Sinyangwe, a data scientist and policy analyst who founded Mapping Police Violence.
There were 97 deadly traffic stops in 2017 114 in 2018 117 in 2019 119 in 2020 117 in 2021 and 25 so far in 2022 as of April, according to the data.
Police are trained for combat, for adverse situations, and I think thats where we should leave them
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Nationwide Police Shot And Killed Nearly 1000 People In 2017
For the third year in a row, police nationwide shot and killed nearly 1,000 people, a grim annual tally that has persisted despite widespread public scrutiny of officers use of fatal force.
Police fatally shot 987 people last year, or two dozen more than they killed in 2016, according to an ongoing Washington Post database project that tracks the fatal shootings. Since 2015, The Post has logged the details of 2,945 shooting deaths, culled from local news coverage, public records and social-media reports.
While many of the year-to-year patterns remain consistent, the number of unarmed black males killed in 2017 declined from two years ago. Last year, police killed 19, a figure tracking closely with the 17 killed in 2016. In 2015, police shot and killed 36 unarmed black males.
Experts said they are uncertain why the annual total shows little fluctuation the number for 2017 is almost identical to the 995 killed by police in 2015.
Some believe the tally may correspond to the number of times police encounter people, an outcome of statistical probability. Other experts are exploring whether the number tracks with overall violence in American society.
The attention may have helped police reduce the number of unarmed people shot and killed each year, according to interviews with experts and police departments. Officers fatally shot 94 unarmed people in 2015, but that number has been lower in the past two years, with 51 killed in 2016 and 68 in 2017.
Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People In Us More Than 3 Times As High As In Whites
Overall fatal shooting rate not budged in 5 years public health emergency say researchers
The rate of fatal police shootings of unarmed Black people in the US is more than 3 times as high as it is among White people, finds research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
And the total numbers of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour killed in police shootings hasnt budged over the past 5 years, prompting the researchers to describe the figures as a public health emergency.
Deaths caused by police violence in the US are disproportionately high among BIPOC, but its not clear if the rate of these deaths might have changed over time.
The researchers therefore looked at trends in fatal police shootings, overall, and according to whether the victim was armed, to quantify years of life lost across racial/ethnic groups between 2015 and 2020.
They drew on publicly available data compiled by The Washington Post on every person killed by on-duty police officers in the US during this period.
The data, which were sourced from local news reports, independent databases, and additional reporting at the paper, include details of the race, age and sex of the victims, as well any item in their possession perceived to be a weapon.
Estimates of years of life lost were based on national historical life expectancy data for US citizens in the victims birth year compared with their actual age at death.
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