Unarmed Black People Twice as Likely to Be Killed by Cops As White People, Says Report

By Michael Nam


a katz / Shutterstock.com

While the federal government and law enforcement agencies do not have or provide standardized figures on fatal shootings by police officers nationwide, the growing awareness of police-related violence has spurred more and more independent investigations.

The Guardian reports that in 2015 alone, 102 of the 464 individuals killed by police were unarmed, and that 32 percent were Black. Adding Latino and other people of color,almost two-thirds of unarmed individuals killed by police were from underrepresented people:

Percent of Unarmed People Killed by Police

Whites15%
Hispanic/Latino25.4%
Blacks31.9%

How underrepresented are those who make up the majority of unarmed shooting deaths According to the U.S. Census, Blacks make up only 13 percent and Hispanic/Latino people 17 percent. White people make up almost 63 percent of the population.

While some would deny that figures like the Guardian’s research show clear racial bias in law enforcement, the alarming amount of video evidence of police in individual situations coming to light supports these patterns.

The chokehold of Eric Garner over an alleged matter of selling loose cigarettes; the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy playing alone with a toy gun; and Walter Scott being shot in the back while fleeing a police officer after a minor traffic stop this year these recorded incidents can be viewed as exposing police attitudes toward profiling and excessive use of force.

Still, additional data would be welcome, and the lack of official Federal statistics on police-related deaths may surprise some, as the Guardian found out:

Some relatives of people killed by police said they had been unaware of the dearth of publicly available information on police-involved fatalities until their family became affected. Anthony Scott, whose brother Walter wasshot dead in April by police officer Michael Slagerin North Charleston, South Carolina, said the lack of public information “came as a surprise”.

Calls for more and better organized information on a Federal level is currently being support by the likes of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Cory Booker, in efforts to improve what FiveThirtyEight describes as incomplete knowledge:

Efforts to keep track of “justifiable police homicides” are beset by systemic problems. “Nobody that knows anything about the SHR puts credence in the numbers that they call ‘justifiable homicides,'” when used as a proxy for police killings, saidDavid Klinger, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri who specializes in policing and the use of deadly force. And there’s no governmental effort at all to record the number of unjustifiable homicides by police.

Media inquiry into public data, such as the Guardian’s initiative called “The Counted,” and the confirmation of social media data, help to clarify the picture of systemic bias in our justice system. When Officer Daniel Pantaleo of the NYPD avoided indictment in Eric Garner’s death, the NAACP took to Twitter and tweeted out 76 names of unarmed Black men and women killed by police between 1999 and 2014.

However, hard numbers from a standardized, national source would go a long way to helping the nation come to grips with the deeply rooted problem of racial profiling and police brutality.

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…