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Racial Disparity In Police Shootings Unchanged Over 5 Years

How many people are killed by police each year in the U.S.?

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.

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.

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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Where Do Most Fatal Police Killings Happen

A common assumption is that fatal police shootings most often occur in urban locations, because some of those areas are perceived to be plagued by high levels of community gun violence. But a study by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine in May 2020 found fatal police shooting rates were as high in rural areas as in urban areas. Suburban locations were found to have somewhat lower rates.

And a separate, 2019 study from Harvard suggests that different neighborhoods present disparate risks of police violence: Researchers found that the risk of Black people being killed by police was highest in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Officer And Civilian Characteristics

POLICE KILLING OF BLACKS: Data for 2015, 2016, 2017, and ...

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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In One Year 57375 Years Of Life Were Lost To Police Violence

A new study finds that police killings exact a toll greater than accidental gun deaths.

People killed by police in 2015 and 2016 had a median age of 35, and they still had an average of about 50 years left to live when they died. Its this metricthe gap between how long someone lives and how long they were expected to livethats the focus of a new study by Anthony Bui, Matthew Coates, and Ellicott Matthay in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

To find the true toll of police violence, the authors focused on years of life lost. They used data from The Counted, a Guardian database of people killed by police, to find the races and ages of everyone who died at the hands of police in the United States, then compared them to the average life expectancy for those groups.

Of the 1,146 and 1,092 victims of police violence in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the authors found that 52 percent were white, 26 percent were black, and 17 percent were Hispanic. Together, these individuals lost 57,375 years to police violence in 2015 and 54,754 to police violence in 2016. Young people and people of color were disproportionately affected: 52 percent of all the years of life lost belonged to nonwhite, non-Hispanic ethnic groups. Whites also tended to be killed by police at older ages than African Americans and Hispanicsthough this is partly because, in the general population, whites are older on average than the other groups.

Police Violence And Society

The bias leads to greater rates of violence against Black Americans, but it doesn’t end there. A key issue in America is that it is hard to take disciplinary action against officers for misconduct. As a result of strong unions and lax laws, police officers are very unlikely to face consequences for their actions, which can further encourage such actions. A 2020 research found that officers who aren’t disciplined are “more likely to commit misconduct in the future compared to officers who had never been fired.”

Even if an officer is fired, they tend to move to another agency, which invariably tends to be in smaller communities with a greater percentage of Black residents. Since it is easy for them to get a job, the bias remains and the cycle continues. Without adequate reforms, African-Americans will remain at greater threat of dying from police violence, even if they are a smaller number in total.

Back in 2020, Trump was asked by CBS “why Black people are still dying at the hands of law enforcement?” He responded, “So are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people.” He isn’t wrong, the issue is that he isn’t entirely right. The reality is that Black Americans are in more danger, mainly due to systemic racism. Addressing that takes more than de-escalation training and body cameras.

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The Vast Majority Of People Shot And Killed By Police Are Armed

Nearly six in 10 people shot and killed by police had a gun. Many others were armed with a knife or other weapon. However, determining the threat posed by a weapon can be tricky. For example, 155 people killed by police since 2015 were found after the shooting to be wielding toy guns.

What leads to shootings?

Fact Check: False Data On Us Racial Murder Rates

US police shoot and kill Black people at twice the rate of whites: Report

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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.

Posts with the claim are visible here , here and here .

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 .

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What Does ‘armed’ Mean

Sometimes the concept of “armed” is complicated.

“I personally don’t think my nephew was trying to hurt anybody. I don’t 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 that’s pretty callous,” he said.

“I don’t 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.”

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.

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Black Americans Are Disproportionately Killed By Police

Although half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for just 13 percent of the U.S. population, but more than a quarter of police shooting victims. The disparity is even more pronounced among unarmed victims, of whom more than a third are black.

United States population by race


Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns

POLICE KILLING OF BLACKS: Data for 2015, 2016, 2017 ...

The trial’s outcome was highly anticipated and the guilty verdict not necessarily guaranteed: While Floyd’s 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 Minnesota’s history.

Between 2005 and Floyd’s 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 it’s 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.

As the country begins to process the verdict, many advocates are noting that Floyd’s case is one of many, and are calling for systemic changes in policing and criminal justice.

Here’s a look at the outcomes of several high-profile cases in recent years.


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What These Findings Do Not Show

Our analyses test for racial disparities in FOIS, which should not be conflated with racial bias . Racial disparities are a necessary but not sufficient, requirement for the existence of racial biases, as there are many reasons why fatal shootings might vary across racial groups that are unrelated to bias on the behalf of police officers.

For example, we found that a person fatally shot by police was much more likely to be White when they were suicidal. This does not mean that there are department policies or officer biases that encourage fatal shootings of suicidal White civilians. A more plausible explanation is that White civilians are more likely to attempt suicide by cop than minorities . Similarly, Black and Hispanic officers were more likely to fatally shoot Black and Hispanic civilians. This does not mean that there are department policies encouraging non-White officers to fatally shoot minorities. Rather, the link between officer race and FOIS appears to be explained by officers and civilians being drawn from the same population, making it more likely that an officer will be exposed to a same-race civilian.

Racial Disparities By Type Of Shooting

Examination of National Violent Death Reporting System data shows racial differences across types of fatal shootings. Black civilians fatally shot by police are more likely to be unarmed and less likely to pose an immediate threat to officers . In contrast, White civilians are nearly three times more likely to be fatally shot by police when the incident is related to mental-health concerns and are seven times more likely to commit suicide by cop . These are incidents where a civilian threatens a police officer for the purpose of ending their life and reflect higher rates of suicide overall among Whites relative to Black and Hispanic civilians .

Racial differences in the frequency of certain types of FOIS matter because they may mask racial disparities in other types of fatal shootings. Even if a person fatally shot during a criminal encounter is more likely to be Black than White, this disparity will be difficult to detect if White civilians commit suicide by police intervention more frequently and such cases represent a large proportion of the overall FOIS. As past work has not distinguished between shootings where the civilian is or is not suicidal, it is unclear how much these disparities cancel each other out.

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The Real Numbers Of Police Brutality In America That You Need To See

Everyone from the Hollywood elite to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem from the mainstream media to teachers at schools across the country seem to want to declare that police are racists.

Theyll tell you theres a disproportionate number of unarmed black men being killed by the cops.

That police brutality is out of control.

Except the numbers once again absolutely destroy that argument.

  • According to 2019 data, there are 328, 240, 469 people here in the United States.
  • According to stats from com, there are 670,279 full time police officers here in the United States out of a total of 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers .
  • There are approximately 2.1 police officers per thousand people.
  • Police officers are less than .21 % of population.
  • Officers come into contact with 17% of the population annually.

That means 55,800,880 contacts

  • Which, at the time of the last report, led to 26,000 excessive force complaints against officers.
  • Thats 0.047% of contacts.
  • Only 8% of those complaints were sustained.
  • Thats 2,080 out of 53,380,000 contacts, or .0039%

A good friend of mine who is a Chief of Police put that into perspective:

  • You are seven times more likely to be murdered
  • 15 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident
  • 42 times more likely to be raped

than to have a police officer use excessive force on you.

But were just warming up. Lets look at 2018 police shootings.


Of the 47 that were unarmed:

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