The high profile deaths of men, many of whom were black, at the hands law enforcement in the last year—including Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and Eric Garner—have thrust the issue of police killings into the international spotlight. Videos of homeless men being shot or assaulted by officers is shared daily on social media. Even where I live in Germany, they know about and talk about these killings, they are appalled at the behavior of these officers and the response of the departments following the incidents.
Unfortunately, comprehensive data on the issue has been elusive. Even the FBI failed to count even half the number of people killed by state and local law police in the past decade, according to an official Bureau Of Justice Statistics report released in March.
In attempt to capture a more complete picture of police killings in the U.S., citizen and activist groups have started compiling their own statistics through crime and media reports. One of the most comprehensive projects to date, running since the dawn of 2014, is hosted on a site called Killed By Police. The site logged nearly 1,500 police-involved deaths between January 1, 2014 and April 30, 2015 and includes documentation for each incident.
This is what 16 months of police killings in the United States looks like:
If cameras on police uniforms can reduce the use of police force, could it also reduce polce killings?