iScot USA contributor Will McLeod:



flagmanI’ll be talking about Black Lives Matter tomorrow (17th Aug) on Netroots Radio (I’ll be on at 11:30). I’ll soon be launching my own show there, with econ-blogger extraordinaire Arliss Bunny. In my research for the topic, I collated the following data on police shootings in the US for my own notes. I thought that these numbers might be useful to others, so I present them here without further comment. All sources for the data are linked at the very bottom of this post.

607 people have been shot dead by police so far this year. 60 were unarmed, around 10% of those killed.

301 were White. 18 of them were unarmed, around 6% of whites killed.

155 were Black. 24 of them were unarmed, around 15% of blacks killed.

95 were Hispanic or Latino†. 14 of them were unarmed, around 15% of Latinos killed.

Six were Native Americans. One was unarmed, and we have no information at all about one other. 16-33% of Native Americans killed were unarmed.

12 were from other races. Two were unarmed. Both were mentally ill.

22 of the people considered to be armed were carrying toy guns, such as pellet guns. 34 people considered to be armed are accused of using their vehicles as weapons, such as driving threateningly towards police officers. We have no good information whether an

additional 16 people killed by the police were armed or not. Of the 283 White people considered to be armed by the media and police, 13 of them were armed only with a vehicle. 15 were armed with toy guns. Of the 131 Black people considered to be armed by the media and police, 15 of them were armed only with a vehicle. Three were armed with toy guns.Of the 81 Hispanic people considered to be armed by the media and police, four of them were armed only with a vehicle. Three were armed with toy guns.Of the four Native Americans considered to be armed by the media and police, one of them was armed only with a vehicle.163 of those killed had a known history of mental illness, or were actively having some kind of episode. Three were in vehicles. Ten had toy weapons. 12 were unarmed. We have no good information about the circumstances surrounding the killing of four mentally ill people. In many cases, the police had been called by worried family members or neighbors. In at least one case, the mentally ill individual themselves called 911 asking for help.

The case of Lavall Hall is instructive here. Lavall’s mother called the police because he was sitting outside, dressed only in his underwear. They shot him when he refused to drop a broom handle. He’d been taken by police to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital just a week prior.

If we consider the current rate of unarmed white people gunned down by the police to be “normal,” unarmed black people are killed by the police at a rate of 259% of normal‡.

If we consider the current rate of unarmed white people gunned down by the police to be “normal,”  unarmed Hispanic people are killed by the police at a rate of 246% of normal.

If we consider the current rate of unarmed white people gunned down by the police to be “normal,”  unarmed Native Americans are killed by the police at a rate of 279-557% of normal.

Media reporting is often spotty, so there are things we do not know. We do not know if 16 of those killed by the police were armed with anything at all. Of those people, 7 were white, 5 were black, 2 were Hispanic, one Native American, and one whose race has not been determined. Of the people killed by police, 36 have races that have not been reported. 33 of them were armed. One was armed only with a vehicle, one with a toy, one was unarmed, and seven had a known history of mental illness.

Two cases where we have no good information about the armed status of the dead are instructive. In the killing of Native American Joe Charboneau, no one knows what happened or why he was shot, including his family. This is true of many of those 16 cases where there is little information.



The second case is the killing of White American Christopher Benton. Officers went to Benton’s home with a search warrant for drugs and illegal firearms. The police say that they found “an armed male presenting lethal force to the officers.” Benton was killed a month ago, and that sentence has still yet to be explained. There is still no information on what, if anything, Benton was armed with or what “presenting lethal force” actually means.

The Benton case is mirrored by a number of other cases, where local media simply reports a police shooting, but does none of the work necessary to investigate the killing closely. In many of these cases there is no good information, and no one in the news media has completed any sort of follow up. The killing is simply reported, and then forgotten.

This data only includes those killed by the police through shooting, and there are other deaths that must be accounted for, but for which no good data exists. It does not include those killed while in police custody, such as Freddie Gray or Sandra Bland.

There are no good numbers for 2014 or 2015 that I have been able to find. The Department of Justice has some statistics for local jails during 2000-2013.  There does not appear to be a useful breakdown that correlates of cause of death with racial demographics.Between 2000 and 2013, 371 people held in local jails died in accidents. 302 died in homicides, and no distinction is made between the perpetrators. We are not told which were caused by jailors or the police, and which were caused by other inmates or by injuries sustained before the arrest. 520 have their cause of death listed as “other” or “unkown.” 365 have no reported cause of death on file. 69 of those who died in local jails during this period were 17 years of age or younger. From 2000-2013, 2,358 incarcerated people died in or were killed in local jails without being convicted of any crime. 4,134 are reported to have committed suicide.

As of August 16th, 60 unarmed people have been shot by the police since January 1st, 2015. Their names follow. Those marked with a star are either known to have a history of mental illness, or were exhibiting signs of extreme mental or emotional distress before they were killed.


Black Americans

Thomas Allen, 34
William Chapman, 18
Albert Joseph Davis, 23
Samuel DuBose, 43
Salvado Ellswood, 36
David Felix, 24 *
Brendon Glenn, 29
Bobby Gross, 35 *
Lavall Hall,  25 *
Eric Harris, 44
Anthony Hill, 27 *
Artago Damon Howard, 36
Kris Jackson, 22
Brandon Jones, 18
Charly Leundeu Keunang, 43 *
Victor Emanuel Larosa, 23

Jeremy Lett, 28
Spencer McCain, 41 *
Tony Robinson, 19
Walter Scott, 50
Frank Shephard, 41
Darrius Stewart, 19
Christian Taylor, 19
Naeschylus Vinzant, 37

Hispanic Americans

Rudy Baca, 36
Richard Carlin, 35
Ernesto Javiar Canepa Diaz, 27
Joshua Omar Garcia, 24
Joaquin Hernandez, 28
Roberto Leon, 22
Hector Morejon, 19
Sergio Alexander Navas, 36
Antonio Perez, 32
John Paul Quintero, 23
Alfredo Rials-Torres, 54
Adrian Simental, 24 *
Ruben Villalpando, 31
Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35 *

Native Americans

Daniel Covarrubias, 37 *

White Americans

Johnny Ray Anderson, 43
Ryan Bolinger, 28
Rodney Biggs, 49
Jamison Childress, 29 *
Derek Cruice, 26
John Deming, 19
Joshua Dyer, 34
Daniel Elrod, 39
Michael Ireland, 34
David Kassick, 59
Jeremy Linhart 30
Alexander Phillip Long, 31
Ebin Lamont Proctor, 19
Billy Joe Patrick, 29
Autumn Steele, 34
Ralph Willis, 42
Derek Wolfsteller, 31 *

Americans of Other/Unknown Races

Feras Morad, 20 *
Fridoon Zalbeg Rawshannehad, 42 *
Darren Billy Wilson, 47

Further Reading:………

†I prefer to use the term Latino as it is broader and far more accurate. It includes people who are not remotely Hispanic, such as the indigenous population of Latin America, and Brazilians, who have no relationship with Spain/Hispania. Unfortunately, many of the sources I relied on used the term “Hispanic” and so I feel compelled to use it for this data, even though there is a much more accurate term.

‡These figures were calculated by using the following method.

N unarmed nonwhite deaths * N total white deaths / N total nonwhite deaths / N Unarmed White deaths. The cross multiplying gives us the number of deaths that non-whites could expect if they had an equal number of total deaths to whites. That hypothetical non-white number is then divided by the actual number of white deaths, showing exactly how greater the rate of deadly police violence is against non whites of a specific ethnic group. Normal assumes in this case that for every 301 police shootings, 18 will be of unarmed individuals.

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