987 people were fatally shot by police officers in 2017
Police across the country shot and killed approximately the same number of people in 2017 as they did in each of the previous two years.
Because there is no official nationwide tally of fatal police shootings, The Washington Post took charge and has compiled the most accurate accounting of these incidents – 2,945 shooting deaths in all since 2015, with roughly 1,000 each year. According to the Post’s report, 987 people were fatally shot by police officers in 2017.
“The numbers indicate that this is not a trend, but a robust measure of these shootings,” said University of South Carolina criminologist Geoff Alpert, who specializes in the study of police use of force. “We now have information on almost 3,000 shootings, and we can start looking to provide the public with a better understanding of fatal officer-involved shootings.”
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime. One in three women and one in four men in the United States has experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. Husbands are five times more likely to kill wives than vice versa. A third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate male partner or ex-partner, according to FBI reports. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ndv0312.pdf
Deadly police shootings came to the forefront of national attention in 2014 when an unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed by a White police officer in a suburban community outside St. Louis, Mo.
The controversy surrounding his death sparked a huge public outcry that contributed to the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Post reported.
The number of unarmed persons killed by police has shown signs of decreasing, according to the Post’s data. After 94 unarmed persons were fatally shot in 2015, that amount dropped to 51 people killed in 2016 and inched back up to 68 in 2017.
“African American families comprise 42 percent of welfare recipients…but are 59 percent of poor people shown on television are African American.” “Sustaining Stereotypes” by Lanien Frush Holt in QUILL Summer 2018 www.spj.org/quill
“The national spotlight on this issue has made officers more cautious in unarmed situations,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank. His group developed training for dozens of departments aimed at de-escalating potentially violent encounters.
“We are giving officers more options like slowing the situation down and using time and distance to gain a tactical advantage,” Wexler said.
In a 2015, the Los Angeles Police Department began to emphasize that their officers strive to preserve life in all encounters. In 2017, the LAPD started to award Preservation of Life medals to officers that demonstrate exemplary action in avoiding a fatal shooting. Local police unions were derisive, but top managers in the LAPD think de-escalation training has made a difference.
“Our officers are in 1.5 million volatile encounters a year, so shooting someone is an incredibly rare event,” LAPD First Assistant Chief Michel Moore told the Post. “Yet we pull each instance apart to see what factors might have played a role and train our officers to make that rare event even more rare.”
“Police departments in 13 of the 25 largest U.S. cities did not post their (operating and use-of-force) procedures online.” “The Opaque Blue Line” by C.J. Ciaramella in Reason magazine May 2017
About one out of four fatal shootings in 2017 involved persons experiencing some form of mental health crisis.
“We call 911 for other medical emergencies, and they bring specially trained medical technicians, but when it’s a mental health crisis, we send the police,” said Ron Honberg of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
For each of the last three years, the Post documented more than twice the number of fatal police shootings than were recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is limited by its reliance on voluntary data submissions from police agencies. The Post did its own research by sifting through local news coverage, public records, and social media reports.