2015: The Year Police Killings In America Were Counted

Heightened visibility alone, however, has not effectively ended such slayings or brought justice to victims.
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    The Black Lives Matter movement that swept the country in 2015 has—among other accomplishments—forced global media outlets to afford victims of police killings the most basic acknowledgement: a public record of their names and deaths.

    Such a grim tally was maintained this year by both the Guardian and the Washington Post, following the consistent failure of the U.S. government to keep adequate records.

    According to the Guardian, 1,126 people were killed by police so far in 2015, averaging more than three a day, with 27 percent of those slain facing mental health issues.

    The numbers confirm the racial injustices highlighted by nationwide protests. Among black people in America, 6.9 per million were killed by police, compared to 2.86 white people per million. In other words, African-Americans were nearly 2.5 times as likely to be killed by police as their white counterparts.

    Native-Americans and Latinos were also disproportionately likely to have their lives taken by law enforcement, with 3.4 per million and 3.35 per million killed respectively.

    The high number of killings was corroborated by the Washington Post, which only tracks fatal police shootings—not killings by taser, beating, and other forms of force, such as the high-profile death of African-American man Freddie Gray in Baltimore. The paper concluded, nonetheless, that nearly 1,000 civilians were shot and killed by police this year.

    What’s more, the Post‘s analysis found that the FBI, which is tasked with tracking such shootings, is dramatically undercounting killings because “fewer than half of the nation’s 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,” journalists Kimberly Kindy, Marc Fisher, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins reported this week.

    However, Jim Naureckas, editor of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting’s watchdog journal Extra!, argued Tuesday that the Post also “held back” key information by downplaying the connection between the high number of police killings and the grievances issued by racial justice movements.

    For example, Post journalists wrote 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.”

    But in fact, the Black Lives Matter movement has condemned killings by officers of all races, killings of people who were armed, and killings of black women—such as Mya Hall and Rekia Boyd—by police as well as vigilante violence.

    Even still, the Post‘s numbers are damning.

    “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 paper’s database found. “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.”

    There are many things that the databases don’t track, including beatings, abuse, and sexual assaults. For example, police officer Daniel Holtzclaw’s serial raping of African-American women would not make it on this list of atrocities.

    But perhaps, more than anything, both databases show that heightened visibility, in itself, will not end police killings or bring justice to its victims.

    The end of 2015 is being marked by ongoing protests demanding “Justice for Tamir Rice,” a 12-year-old African-American shot to death by a white police officer while playing with a toy gun. An Ohio Grand Jury decided Monday not to indict officers Timothy Loehmann or Frank Garmback, despite video evidence that neither provided first aid to the dying child.

    In a statement released Monday night, Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, declared: “I don’t want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with.”

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    • Eric Sortzi

      How about we look at the rest of the numbers the Post found and didn’t report because it doesn’t fit the narrative of their story? First that blacks commited homicides at a rate 8x higher than that of whites, and amongst black teens that rate was actually about 10x higher. Also not mentioned is the fact that the rates of other crimes amongst the black community are vastly higher proportional to population than in the white community. The Post’s own numbers show that interactions with police in the black community are significantly higher than in the white community for the fully justified reason that blacks are committing a proportionately higher rate of crime, and that rate tends to schew heavily toward “violent.” Looking the numbers the Post put forward, blacks are shot and killed by police at rates proportional to their interactions with police comparable to every other race, including whites. In fact, if you then compensate for the rates of violent interactions with police according to race, blacks are actually killed at an adjusted LOWER rate than other races related to violent interactions with police.

      So in reality, the hard statistics prove without an ounce of contention, blacks are not facing a disproportionate number of police killings – except, perhaps, in the sense that they may actually be less likely to be killed by police in violent encounters than whites.

      And this points to the real problem the black community is facing. Blacks don’t have a police problem. They have a crime problem.

      • Miranda

        Maybe they actually just get CAUGHT doing more crimes than white people and maybe their crimes are just PURSUED more than white peoples…. I have been in a car with white people and not got arrested and I been in the same car with black people doing the same thing (smoking marijuana) and got arrested….. why didn’t I get arrested with the white kids? The black people didn’t act violent and as a matter of fact one of the white kids cussed out the police and the black kids sat there with their mouths shut….. Racism is alive and well buddy…..

    • michael aller

      Wow these flamer race baiting extreme Left anarchist Media posts just keep popping up like weeds. If the Socialist Left think that constant coverage of these anarchist agitators will garner votes. They will be very disappointed.

    • Pingback: #BlackLivesMatter |()

    • PigStateNews

      At least 1,194 people have been killed by U.S. police since January 1, 2015.
      At least 1,108 were killed in 2014.
      At least 3,071 have been killed since May 1, 2013, the day this list was created.

      • michael aller

        Thats about the same amount of young blacks gunned down by thugs … last week.