America Is #1 in Police Killings Among Western Democracies, Yet We’re Only Just Discovering How Bad the Situation Is By Terrell Jermaine Starr

Even before the Washington Post [3] published its startling report this weekend on the astronomically high number of Americans shot and killed by police in the first five months of 2015, the U.S. was already easily number one.

Number one among highly advanced western democracies with fully developed economies for police killings of citizens: at least 400 people a year, according to a write up by the Los Angeles Daily News [4]. That figure was based on FBI data collected from police agencies that reported fatal shootings between 2009 to 2013, which everyone knew to be low.

Now, even that large number may turn out to be low. After conducting its own analysis, The Washington Post reported this weekend that police shot and killed nearly 400 people in just the first five months of 2015. That is more than two a day. Some of those shootings make news—like Walter Scott’s death at the hands of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, as Scott tried to run away. Others made some news, even without a shocking video of the tragic event. There was 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez, shot and killed while she joy-riding in a stolen car in Denver. There was 77-year-old Douglas Harris, whose son had asked police to check on him.

Although half of those killed by police are white and half minority, according to the Post, those numbers do not take into account the racial breakdown of the communities in which they occur. There is an undeniable racial component to the use of deadly force.  A ProPublica report found the officers are 21 times more likely to kill black men than white one. Not to mention, a Florida State University study which found [5] that white cops are more likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than they are armed white suspects. The mentally ill don’t fair very well, either. Based on federal data, the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram’s investigation [6] found that at least half of the citizens cops kill in America were mentally ill.

The Shocking Numbers

Read more