Are Police Related Shootings Really Rising? An Analysis of the Statistics

October 5, 2014
Cassius Methyl

(The Anti Media) With the rise of public awareness of American police shooting and killing unarmed people, the question remains in several people’s minds: are the frequency of these shootings actually rising, or is awareness of them simply rising?

The answer seems to be both, but it is difficult to determine because no well known organization or body of people keeps statistics on the issue.

However, incidents of the police killing people, armed or unarmed, are listed in a few places with verifiable sources. One good source is this Wikipedia page.

Counting every single incident from 2009 to 2014, American police have killed at least 1622 people in the last 5 years. The number is bound to be a lot higher because of incidents that were not covered by local news and so on, but we know it’s at least 1622.

In 2009, 61 people were reported killed by the police. In 2010,the number increased to about 92.

2011’s rate of officer involved shootings continued a trend of increased violence, as at least 169 people were killed. 52 people were killed in Los Angeles County alone, a near 70% increase from 2010, and the real rate of people killed by officers is surely much higher than the known 169.

However, that is nothing compared to 2012.

2012 was the worst year in a long time of cases where police used deadly force, as they killed at least 601 people.

In 2012 New York, police killed 16 people, more people than any year in 12 years. As the rate of crime fell in NYC, the rate of police involved shootings steadily rose.

Between 2008 and 2013, Massachusetts police shot more people steadily each year.

In 2012, police accountability organizations such as Cop Block and the Peaceful Streets Project became started gaining prominence, and the communities of America began to really learn that they had a problem with officers using deadly force with impunity, for whatever reason they saw fit.

These organizations seemed to emerge from the climate of increasing police violence, and collectively a lot of people began to put effort into raising awareness about the rising violence.

Perhaps organizations like this and activism combined with an alternative media capable of exposing these killings contributed to the rate decreasing in 2013, to at least 315.

315+ killings of people by officers in 2013 is still not good, but it seems that after 2012, people started really trying to gather statistics on the issue, and 2014 probably has the most accurate account of every killing that took place.

So far in 2014, at least 385 people have been killed by police in America.

Of course, Michael Brown was one of them, and since August public perception of the police using deadly force will never be the same. That one particular incident was not as bad as a lot of the police shootings that preceded it, but something about the shooting in Ferguson simply broke the floodgates.

Unprecedented awareness of police using deadly force for no good reason is here, and it’s here to stay. We have collectively grasped onto an ability to massively publicize any injustice, and solve problems by waking up our fellow people to them, and we are in a better position than ever as a people to stop things like this from happening.

I hope these facts were helpful in adding to your perspective on officer involved shootings in America, and that you too appreciate the success we have had in the latter part of this year, letting authorities know that we will stand up for our fellow people, letting them know we will protest the use of unnecessary deadly force with everything we have got, every time, because it is effective and necessary.

Please share this with anyone who could gain some perspective from this. Check out this infographic from on police violence:

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