In the United States, the subject of police misconduct has become a major source of debate in the past few years. To better educate, we’ve collected 11 facts pertaining to U.S. police misconduct.
10Number of Citizens Killed
Over 1,000 people (a list can be found here) were killed by police officers in 2015. This number includes armed and unarmed suspects.
Black citizens are three-times more likely to be killed by a police officer. What’s more, a third of black victims had no weapons on their person, and in 2014, seventy-one percent of black victims weren’t even suspected of being armed or having committed a violent crime.
8Gun Violence Totals
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 51,800 verifiable gun incidents in 2015. Of that number (which includes suicides as well as homicides, accidental or otherwise), 4,310 involved police officers. Less than one percent of police are actually indicted for killing citizens; they are more commonly charged with weapons-related offenses or assault.
Data from the Nation Police Misconduct Reporting Project shows that in 2010, sexual assault was the second-most reported form of police misconduct (the first was excessive force). However, this data isn’t considered accurate given how infrequently se**al assault, in general, is reported.
Meanwhile, deaths of on-duty police officers are on the rise: 124 fatalities total in 2015 (up eight-percent according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund). Deaths by firearms are actually down compared to 2014 while death by other means has actually increased.
5Effectiveness of Tasers
Tasers are often seen as being an effective non-lethal use of force by police. Between 2001 and 2014 there were 634 taser-related deaths at the hands of police. This number is low comparatively but doesn’t account for Taser-related injuries.
4Body And Weapon Cameras
Major efforts nation-wide seek to outfit more police officers with body and weapon cameras. A Florida study of one police department between 2014 and 2015 showed that civilian complaints of police officers using force dropped sixty-five percent. Injuries across the board—for civilians and cops—also dropped.
3Monetary Cost of Police Misconduct
Lawsuits against police departments relating to police misconduct cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year. A poll of ten major U.S. Cities found that combined they had paid over one-billion dollars between 2010 and 2014. It should be noted that these lawsuits aren’t always related to deaths or even violence.
2Level of Distrust
A 2015 poll of American citizens found that trust in the police had reached a low not seen since 1992 with only fifty-two percent expressing confidence in police institutions. Since 1992 the same annual poll has only ever reached a high of sixty-four percent.
Some argue that police brutality is on the rise because crime rates in America are high. While this may be true on an individual basis (specific cities or states, for example), the national average is actually in decline and has been since 1994.
Violent types of crime were down across the board, so to say that police forces are becoming more violent in response to extreme levels of crime is simply untrue.