Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian. Whereas U.K. police have only shot and killed 51 people over the 95 years. In 2013, only six bullets were fired in total by police in Finland and in Iceland, and only one fatal police shooting has to be recorded in the 71 years of the country’s existence.
When the people hired to protect their communities end up killing someone, they can be called heroes or criminals — a judgment that has never come more quickly or searingly than in this era of viral video, body cameras, and dash cams. A single bullet fired at the adrenaline-charged apex of a chase can end a life, wreck a career, spark a riot, spike racial tensions and alter the politics of the nation.
In July of 2016, the United States saw an increase in police shootings, especially against African Americans, and Hispanic victims. In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the kind of incidents that have ignited protests in many U.S. communities — most often, white police officers killing unarmed black men — represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings.
Meanwhile, The Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.
In recent shootings, victims were not wielding weapons and complied with the officer’s request. Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year.In the majority of cases in which police shot and killed a person who had attacked someone with a weapon or brandished a gun, the person who was shot was white. But a hugely disproportionate number — 3 in 5 — of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.
Like a growing number of police shootings, the death of #AltonSterling, a black man shot several times while being held on the ground by police outside a Louisiana convenience store. The Baton Rouge police department has multiple complaints, however no convictions of the accused officers.
In less than 24 hours, another African American male was fatality shot to death, in a routine traffic stop for a busted tail light. Mr. Philando Castile was some In the car with him were a young girl and an adult woman, who live-streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.
Angry crowds gathered outside the governor’s mansion as news spread about the death. Castile, 32, was a kitchen supervisor for the St. Paul school district.
NSFW Graphic Video
— CNN (@CNN) July 7, 2016
— Tony Webster (@webster) July 7, 2016
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 7, 2016
So many people work so hard to find a reason why executing a human being during a routine traffic stop is ok. IT’S NOT OK
— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 7, 2016