Young Black Men are 21 Times More Likely than White Ones to Be Killed by Police

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Michael Brown, 18, killed by Missouri police (photo: Brown family, Facebook)

Law enforcement in the United States is not color blind, especially when it comes to killing young people.


A review of more than 1,200 fatal shootings over a two-year period revealed that young African-American males were 21 times more likely to be involved in such incidents than whites, according to ProPublica.


The investigative website examined the cases of 1,217 deadly police shootings reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2010 to 2012. Reporters Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara found black teens aged 15 to 19 were “killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.” They also reported that in order for whites to be at equal risk of dying in these situations as blacks, 185 more whites would have had to die during the period in question–more than one per week.


The “analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population,” ProPublica says.


Not all law enforcement agencies report their shootings to the FBI, so it’s likely that the numbers actually understate the number of people killed by police, according to ProPublica.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Deadly Force, in Black and White (by Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara, ProPublica)

Report: Black Male Teens Are 21 Times More Likely To Be Killed By Cops than White Ones (by Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress)

African-Americans Far more Likely to be Injured by Police than Whites (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Killings by Whites Deemed “Justified” Far more Often than Killings by Blacks (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Black Men Safer in Prison than Out (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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