Police shooting and their associated deaths rip through our communities like a knife of violence. They create distrust and fear of Phoenix law enforcement and they take the lives of our sons and daughters.
One might think that with all the media coverage and attention these events would be declining. However, the problem of fatal police shootings continues. In 2017 alone, 987 people died from police shootings in the United States. This was 12 more people than died in 2016.
What do the statistics say about police shootings?
Even though the actual number of police shootings has remained relatively constant over the last couple years, the demographics of those who died in these events has changed. For example, in 2015, police fatally shot 36 unarmed black males. In 2016, this figure declined to 16. In 2017, it was 19.
Experts are not clear on what can change the total number of fatal shootings, nor are they clear about what can change the number of people killed in various population demographics. Some believe that police shooting deaths are a reflection of the level of criminal activity in the United States. Others believe that these numbers are simply a reflection of the number of times police interact with the public. Statistically, they believe that an armed officer will be in a situation where he or she feels the need to attack after a certain amount of interactions.
One area that has shown improvement is the number of unarmed victims shot and killed by police. Experts believe that the recent media attention and lawsuits from family members of unarmed people killed by police may have helped lower these figures. In 2015 police killed 94 unarmed individuals. In 2016, this number was 51. In 2017, this number was 68.
Cities and municipalities may be financially responsible for police shootings
Depending on the circumstances, governments, cities and municipalities may be financially liable to pay surviving family members for the police shooting deaths that their officers commit. If you lost a loved one in a police shooting, it's vital that you fully understand your legal rights in this regard.