Mapping Police Violence collected data on over 1,100 killings by police in 2017. Compiling information from media reports, obituaries, public records, and databases like Fatal Encounters and the WashingtonPost, this report represents the most comprehensive accounting of deadly police violence in 2017. Our analysis suggests the majority of killings by police in 2017 could have been prevented and that specific policies and practices might prevent police killings in the future.
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people were killed by police in 2017.
were killed by police shootings. Tasers, physical force, and police vehicles accounted for most other deaths.
Officers were charged with a crime in only of these cases. One percent of all killings by police.
of these cases had video evidence. Most of these videos were captured by police body and dash cameras.
We were able to identify officers in cases. At least had shot or killed someone before. had multiple prior shootings.
Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenses or cases where no crime was reported. people were killed after police stopped them for a traffic violation.
people killed by police were unarmed.
Most unarmed people killed by police were people of color.
Black people were more likely to be killed by police, more likely to be unarmed and less likely to be threatening someone when killed.
people killed by police had a vehicle as a weapon.
of these people were killed when police shot at a moving vehicle, a practice many experts say should be banned.
Experts, law enforcement groups, and the US Department of Justice recommend that police be banned from shooting at people in moving vehicles. These shootings are particularly ineffective and dangerous, since shooting the driver can make the vehicle an uncontrollable threat to both officers and the public.
Despite this, most police departments continue to allow officers to shoot people in these situations.
people killed by police were allegedly armed with a knife.
In % of cases where the person had a knife, police did not attempt another type of force before shooting them.
In many countries, police routinely disarm people who have knives without shooting them. For example, police in the United Kingdom encounter knife attacks at a similar rate as US police but handled these situations without using firearms in all but 4 cases this year - each an extreme case where firearms were used to stop a terrorist attack.
Consistent with international law, police in the UK are prohibited from using firearms except where strictly necessary after considering non-violent and less lethal options.
Only 4 states (DE, IA, RI, TN) have laws that require police attempt other types of force when reasonable before using deadly force.
Half of those killed by police were reportedly armed with a gun.
But 1 in 5 people with a gun were not threatening anyone when they were killed. They might have been de-escalated instead.
Police recruits spend 7x as many hours training to shoot than they do training to de-escalate situations.
If police did not kill people who were not posing a threat with a gun, there would have been fewer deaths this year — a % reduction.
Which would mean substantially fewer people killed by police in every city.