Police Shoot to Death One Unarmed Person Every 3 Days in U.S.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Unarmed Walter Scott was shot in the back by officer Michael Slager (photo: L. Chris Stewart, AP)

Police across the United States shot and killed an average of one unarmed person every three days during the first five months of this year, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.


The average was based on the fact that 49 people who were not carrying a weapon of any kind were shot to death during the first 151 days of 2015.


Among these victims, two-thirds were black or Hispanic.


In addition to the 49 unarmed individuals, another 13 carrying toy guns were shot to death by law enforcement.


The Post investigation also found that at least 385 people—whether armed or unarmed—were shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, an average of more than two a day. “That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete,” Kimberly Kindy wrote for the Post article, which had five additional reporters contributing to the story.


Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement, told the Post such “shootings are grossly under­reported.”


“We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information,” he added.


Of the 385 deaths, half of the victims were white and half were minority, and the ages ranged from 16 to 83. In 50% of the cases, the shootings occurred after police responded to calls for help in social circumstances or domestic disturbances.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Fatal Police Shootings in 2015 Approaching 400 Nationwide (by Kimberly Kindy, Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, Keith L. Alexander and Wesley Lowery, Washington Post)

A Florida Police Killing Like Many, Disputed and Little Noticed (by Frances Robles, New York Times)

Killed by Police 2015 (KilledByPolice.net)

How Many People are Killed by Police? Crowdsourcing Identifies the Officer-Involved Killings Government Doesn’t Count (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

How Many People are Killed by Police in U.S.? Who Knows? (by Steve Straehley,



anonamouse 9 years ago
You break down the stats by race and age, but not by gender. Why is that? The dead are described as "persons" or "people" --- come on, virtually all of them were male. So why not just say "men"? Police shoot and kill men. In most every case, I'll bet, the cop-executioner was a man, too. Man on man violence. Still news after 5,000 years. .... If the perpetrators were Muslims instead of LEOs, perhaps the gov't would be do something about the problem. Oh, wait ...

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