The cat is out of the bag; what was in darkness has come to light, and you know the rest.
Since police are notoriously inaccurate for reporting their own messes, and the federal government has difficulty keeping tally, The Washington Post decided track the number of police-related fatalaties in 2015.
In the first five months of this year, fatal police shootings reached 385 – more than two a day. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody. The Post also tracked every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.
Among the disturbing findings:
- About half the victims were White, half minority. But the demographics shifted sharply among the unarmed victims, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. Overall, Blacks were killed at three times the rate of Whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
- Dozens of other people also died while fleeing from police, The Post analysis shows, including a significant proportion — 20 percent — of those who were unarmed. Running is such a provocative act that police experts say there is a name for the injury officers inflict on suspects afterward: a “foot tax.”
- About half of the time, police were responding to people seeking help with domestic disturbances and other complex social situations: A homeless person behaving erratically. A boyfriend threatening violence. A son trying to kill himself. Ninety-two victims — nearly a quarter of those killed — were identified by police or family members as mentally ill.
- So far, just three of the 385 fatal shootings have resulted in an officer being charged with a crime — less than 1 percent. And these only happen when there is clear evidence (like a videotape as in the Walter Scott case) that the officer acted egregiously.
The takeaways? Don’t call the police if you need help with a mentally ill family member —there is a great chance of death. Don’t run from the police — about one in five deaths are from those who run away. And don’t ever expect the police to be charged, must less convicted in a fatal death of a citizen.
Read More at The Washington Post