The Guardian generated what it characterizes as the most complete database on US police killings available, dubbed "The Counted," and the numbers aren't pretty.
As of Thursday, police have killed 503 Americans in 2015, and the report suggests black people are killed at a much higher rate.
In a separate article, also focusing on this data, The Guardian highlights the shocking disparity between police killings in the US versus other countries.
The first and perhaps most startling statistic reveals US police killed more people in the first 24 days of the year (59) than police in England and Wales have in the past 24 years (55). It seems no coincidence UK police don't carry guns while US police are heavily armed.
In the month of May alone, US police were responsible for the deaths of 83 people, more than twice the annual average of fatal police shootings in Canada. So far in June, US police killed 33 people, about a third of the total number of people killed by police in Australia between 1991 and 2011 (94). These numbers are disconcerting, particularly when you think about the fact Icelandic police are only responsible for one fatal police shooting in the past 71 years.
To be totally fair, as The Guardian notes, the data is somewhat misleading, particularly when you look at population size. Not to mention, there's no doubt US police frequently deal with more violent and extreme situations than law enforcement in other countries.
But these numbers can't be ignored; there's an evident problem in the United States, and it must be addressed.
Legally, US police are permitted to use lethal force under certain circumstances or what is known as justifiable homicide. But the larger and more complicated question is whether the law that reinforces this practice is balanced and why such a culture of violence exists in the US -- both on behalf of law enforcement and common citizens.