Unites States police last year killed almost 1,000 people.
According to data collected by The Washington Post, cops fatally shot 987 people in 2017, which is about two dozen more than the 963 from the previous year. As these numbers indicate, officer-involved shooting deaths are on the rise.
Although ringing in a new year is often perceived as a fresh and clean slate, it’s important to reflect on the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them. This staggering number of deaths at the hands of police cannot continue to increase.
The news of this spike likely comes as no surprise, but the data also confirmed that minority males were fatally shot at a disproportionately higher rate than their white counterparts.
Black men, specifically, made up 22 percent of last year’s fatal shooting victims. As The Hill notes, this is particularly alarming as black men make up only 6 percent of the overall population. Comparatively, Hispanic males accounted for 18 percent of fatal shootings. White males made up 44 percent, however, they are also not a minority.
Another troubling revelation from The Washington Post’s findings is that one in four police shooting victims were described as being in “mental distress” at the time of their death. In 88 percent of these cases, the person was armed.
Members of law enforcement, however, stand by their controversial use of force.
“Our officers are in 1.5 million volatile encounters a year, so shooting someone is an incredibly rare event,” Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michel Moore reportedly told the Post. “Yet we pull each instance apart and see what factors might have played a role and train our officers to make that rare event even more rare.”
Ironically, last year appeared to be an extremely safe year for cops as FBI records indicate that the number of officers killed by suspects in 2017 was 46, which decreased by 20 from the year before.
This report comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's jab at NFL protesters earlier this week in which he retweeted an image of a fallen soldier's grieving family, suggesting that kneeling for the flag disrespects the sacrifice that the military makes for our country. However, the reality is that the athletes are protesting these trigger-happy police officers.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS, Mike Segar