American Police Have Already Killed Around 400 People In 2015 Alone
US police have fatally shot at least 385 people in 2015, an average of more than two people a day, according to an extensive analysis conducted by The Washington Post released a few days ago.
The report focuses on fatal shootings by police, excluding deaths from other forms of lethal force.
The Post reports the vast majority of those killed were male (365) and armed with potentially deadly weapons (more than 80 percent). Concurrently, blacks constituted a disproportionate number of these fatalities; they were killed by police three times as often as whites.
Around 25 percent of those killed also likely suffered from mental illness, according to police or family members.
Moreover, as The Guardian details in a separate report released today, blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be unarmed when killed by police thus far in 2015.
While The Post only focused on fatal shootings by police, The Guardian provided data on all known fatalities caused by police in 2015, bringing the total number up to 464. Out of all of those killed, 102 were unarmed.
According to FBI data, US police kill an average of 400 people annually. Data suggests they've surpassed this number in the first five months of 2015.
But we can't be certain about the exact number of Americans police kill every year. Federal statistics surrounding police killings are incomplete as many police departments don't provide data on this issue.
The Guardian's report contends law enforcement agencies are killing Americans at a rate twice as high as is officially reported.
It's important to note when police use lethal force, it's often legally justified or justifiable homicide. The larger question is whether we can do more to deter these incidents from occurring and if the current legal basis for the use of deadly force by police is sound.
There is an ongoing debate surrounding police brutality and the use of deadly force by police in America, particularly in relation to racism.
These new reports will certainly add fuel to the fire as the nation works to address and improve the tense relationship between police and the general public.
Citations: Fatal Police Shootings in 2015 Approaching 400 Nationwide (The Washington Post), Report US Police Have Shot and Killed At Least 385 People So Far This Year (Vox), Black Americans Killed By Police Twice As Likely to be Unarmed As White People (Guardian)