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Report: Police in United States shoot more than two people a day

According to findings from The Washington Post, the number of police shootings is more than double of what is suggested by FBI data.

By Fred Lambert
The Washington Post published a report on May 30, detailing an average of more than two daily shooting deaths by police officers in the United States since the start of 2015. The data challenges the FBI's collection of self-reported numbers from nationwide law enforcement agencies, which averages police shooting deaths at 1.1 per day. Photo by Chris Dick/CC
The Washington Post published a report on May 30, detailing an average of more than two daily shooting deaths by police officers in the United States since the start of 2015. The data challenges the FBI's collection of self-reported numbers from nationwide law enforcement agencies, which averages police shooting deaths at 1.1 per day. Photo by Chris Dick/CC

WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- A data analysis by The Washington Post suggests that police in the United States shot and killed an average of more than two people a day so far in 2015 -- double the number suggested by federal data.

The newspaper published a report on Saturday using interviews, police reports and local news accounts to compile a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015.

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It concluded that police shot and killed 385 people nationwide in the first five months of the year -- a rate of 2.6 per day.

This challenges federal data on police shootings for the past decade, which tallies about 400 annual police shootings, or an average of 1.1 per day. According to The Post, reporting on such incidents is voluntary, and less than 3 percent of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies have reported fatal shootings by their officers to the FBI since 2011.

The Post's analysis suggests that at the current rate, police will have shot and killed 1,000 people by the end of the year.

"These shootings are grossly under­reported," Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement, told The Post. "We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don't begin to accurately track this information."

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Along with the numbers disparity, the report found that about half of the victims were white and the rest minority, but it indicated that two-thirds of the unarmed victims were black or Hispanic.

In all, the victims -- 20 women and 365 men ages 16 to 83 -- comprised 171 white people, 100 black people, 54 Hispanic people, six Asian people, three "others" and 31 of unknown race and ethnicity. However, after adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred, the analysis found that black people were shot and killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities.

More than 80 percent of the victims were armed with some sort of weapon, but at least 16 percent were unarmed or carrying a toy, according to the report, and of the 385 police shootings this year, only three -- or 1 percent -- have resulted in criminal charges.

A Washington Post report in April found that among the thousands of police shootings since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged.

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