Monday, December 28, 2015

Police Fatally Shoot Nearly 1,000 in 2015

Washington Post

In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings. Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.
The Post sought to compile a record of every fatal police shooting in the nation in 2015, something no government agency had done. The project began after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, provoking several nights of fiery riots, weeks of protests and a national reckoning with the nexus of race, crime and police use of force.
Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year, The Post’s database shows. In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.


  1. I might have missed (long article) it but the article never mentioned how many cops out of the 1,000 deaths ended up with charges. I would describe cops as "trigger Happy." That's a training issue. What ever happened to the term "excessive force?" Shooting someone 16 times goes way beyond neutralizing the danger.

  2. "The landscape of police shootings is surprisingly thinly explored. The FBI is charged with keeping statistics on such shootings, but a Post analysis of FBI data showed that fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency.
    The Post documented well more than twice as many fatal shootings this year as the average annual tally reported by the FBI over the past decade. The FBI and the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics now acknowledge that their data collection has been deeply flawed. FBI Director James B. Comey called his agency’s database “unacceptable.” Both agencies have launched efforts to create new systems for documenting fatalities."

    This is an interesting development. It would also suggest that the number of justifiable homicides by civilians is also grossly underreported. I imagine though that we wont be seeing any real-time reporting as with police shootings.
    It would be an interesting follow on project for the Post if they made a similar database of civilian justifiable homicides.

  3. One interesting thing, I don't know if it was in this article or another, is that a very small percentage of that 1,000 is white cop shooting unarmed black guy. The majority of these killings happen in shootouts with the police.