Lists of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States

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Map of per capita police killings in the United States in 2018.[1]

Below are lists of people killed by law enforcement in the United States, both on duty and off duty. Although Congress instructed the Attorney General in 1994 to compile and publish annual statistics on police use of excessive force, this was never carried out, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation does not collect these data.[2]

Deaths by age group in 2015, according to The Counted
A New York Times study reported how outcomes of active shooter attacks varied with actions of the attacker, the police (42% of total incidents), and bystanders (including a "good guy with a gun" outcome in 5.1% of total incidents).[3]

The annual average number of justifiable homicides alone was previously estimated to be near 400.[4] Updated estimates from the Bureau of Justice Statistics released in 2015 estimate the number to be around 930 per year, or 1,240 if assuming that non-reporting local agencies kill people at the same rate as reporting agencies.[5] A 2019 study by Esposito, Lee, and Edwards states that police killings are a leading cause of death for men aged 25–29 at 1.8 per 100000, trailing causes such as accidental death (76.6 per 100000), suicide (26.7 per 100000), and other homicides (22.0 per 100000).[6]

Around 2015–2016, The Guardian newspaper ran its own database, The Counted, which tracked US killings by police and other law enforcement agencies including from gunshots, tasers, car accidents and custody deaths. They counted 1,146 deaths for 2015 and 1,093 deaths for 2016. The database can be viewed by state, gender, race/ethnicity, age, classification (e.g., "gunshot"), and whether the person killed was armed.[7]

The Washington Post has tracked shootings since 2015, reporting more than 5,000 incidents since their tracking began.[8] The database can also classify people in various categories including race, age, weapon etc. For 2019, it reported a total of 1,004 people shot and killed by police.[9][10] According to the database, 6,600 have been killed since 2015, including 6,303 men and 294 women. Among those killed, 3,878 were armed with a gun, 1,119 were armed with a knife, 218 were armed with a vehicle, 244 had a toy weapon, and 421 were unarmed.[11]

A research brief by the Police Integrity Research Group of Bowling Green State University found that between 2005 and 2019, 104 nonfederal law enforcement officers had been arrested for murder or manslaughter for an on-duty shooting. As of 2019, 80 cases cases had concluded, with 35 leading to convictions, though often on lesser charges; 18 were convicted of manslaughter and four were convicted of murder.[12]

According to an article in The Lancet, between 1980 and 2018, more than 30,000 were killed by the police.[13] The study estimated that 55.5% of the deaths were incorrectly classified in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System, which tracks information from death certificates.[14] Death certificates do not require coroners to list whether the police were involved in the death which may contribute to the disparity.[15]


Lists of killings[edit]

The numbers show how many total killings per year are recorded in the linked lists, not the actual number of people killed by law enforcement. The listing documents the occurrence of a death, making no implications regarding wrongdoing or justification on the part of the person killed or officer involved.

Year (total) Month
Pre-2009 (194) List
2009 (73) 2009 full year
2010 (302) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2011 (180) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2012 (609) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2013 (347) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2014 (637) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2015 (853) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2016 (218) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2017 (161) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2018 (427) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2019 (635) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2020 (457) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2021 (226) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2022 (122) Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peeples, Lynne (September 4, 2019). data from Mapping Police Violence. "What the data say about police shootings". Nature. 573 (7772): 24–26. Bibcode:2019Natur.573...24P. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-02601-9. PMID 31485067. S2CID 201815061. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  2. ^ Dokoupil, Tony (January 14, 2014). "What is police brutality? Depends on where you live". NBC News.
  3. ^ Buchanan, Larry; Leatherby, Lauren (June 22, 2022). "Who Stops a 'Bad Guy With a Gun'?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 22, 2022. Data source: Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center
  4. ^ Johnson, Kevin (October 15, 2008). "FBI: Justifiable homicides at highest in more than a decade". USA Today.
  5. ^ Bialik, Carl (March 6, 2015). "A New Estimate of Killings by Police Is Way Higher—And Still Too Low". FiveThirtyEight.
  6. ^ Esposito, Michael; Lee, Hedwig; Edwards, Frank (July 31, 2019). "Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sex". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (34): 16793–16798. doi:10.1073/pnas.1821204116. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 6708348. PMID 31383756.
  7. ^ "The Counted: People killed by police in the US". The Guardian. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  8. ^ Sullivan, John; Hawkins, Derek (April 1, 2016). "In fatal shootings by police, 1 in 5 officers' names go undisclosed". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Fatal Force: 2019 police shootings database". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Mapping Police Violence". Mapping Police Violence. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "Fatal Force". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Stinson, Philip; Wentzlof, Chloe (2019). "On-Duty Shootings: Police Officers Charged with Murder or Manslaughter, 2005-2019" (PDF). BGSU.edu. Bowling Green. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  13. ^ Sharara, Fablina; Wool, Eve E; et al. (October 2, 2021). "Fatal police violence by race and state in the USA, 1980–2019: a network meta-regression". The Lancet. 398 (10307): 1239–1255. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01609-3. PMC 8485022. PMID 34600625. Across all races and states in the USA, we estimate 30 800 deaths (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 30 300–31 300) from police violence between 1980 and 2018; this represents 17 100 more deaths (16 600–17 600) than reported by the NVSS
  14. ^ Kaste, Martin (October 1, 2021). "More than 17,000 deaths caused by police have been misclassified since 1980". NPR. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  15. ^ "More Than Half of Police Killings Are Mislabeled, New Study Says". The New York Times. September 30, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.

External links[edit]