The excessive and lethal use of force by law enforcement has been a concern for many decades. However, the mainstream conversations about this topic sometimes fail to capture the severity of the problem.
Many studies and data paint a worrying picture about police use of force in the United States. Here are some statistics that all people should know.
Most police departments decline to share data
Many advocates of criminal justice and police reform would argue that accurate and complete data is essential to understanding and addressing the problem of excessive use of force. Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post, less than a third of all police departments provided data on the use of force by their officers.
Police killed more than 1,000 people in 2021
Mapping Police Violence reports that, in 2021, law enforcement killed 1,134 people in the U.S. and 24 people in the state of New York. In the whole of 2021, there were only 15 days when the police did not kill someone.
Black men are much more likely to experience excessive use of force
According to Nature, police were 2.5 times more likely to kill Black men than white. When fatally shot by police, Black people were less likely to have a weapon than white people. In New York specifically, law enforcement is nearly five times as likely to kill a Black person than a white person.
Excessive use of force by police is a violation of civil rights. Understanding the magnitude of this problem is an important part of safeguarding these rights.