US police ‘shot dead almost 400 people’ in 2015

US newspaper tracks police killings, which approaches a rate of more than two a day in the first five months of 2015.

In many cases reported, US police have determined that many of the shootings were justified [AFP]

US police have killed almost 400 people nationwide in 2015, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, using its own tally for lack of complete federal statistics.

The newspaper reported that at least 385 people have been shot and killed by US police during the first five months of the year, a rate of more than two a day.

According to its report, the figures are twice as high as the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade.

“These shootings are grossly under-­reported,” Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving law enforcement, told the Washington Post.

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

The Post looked at shootings specifically, and not killing by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.

Through interviews, police reports and local news accounts, the Post tracked its details.

Report findings

According to the report, half the victims were white, half minority. But two-thirds of whom were black or hispanic.

Overall blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred. 365 of the victims were men while 20 were women.

The Post indicated that 49 people had no weapons, while the guns wielded by 13 others turned out to be toys. In total 16% were either carrying a toy or were unarmed.

The age range of those killed turned out to be between 16-83. Eight were children younger than 18. 

Many victims were killed while fleeing from the police, the Post’s report shows the figure at 20% – and were unarmed.

Police are authorized to use deadly force only when they fear for their lives or the lives of others. So far, just three of the 385 fatal shootings have resulted in an officer being charged with a crime – less than 1 percent.

According to the report, many law officials say many shootings are preventable while some others claim they are unavoidable.

“#Black Lives Matter” is campaign which was created in 2012 after 17 year old Trayvon Martin’s murderer was acquitted for his crime [AP]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies