As much as police departments love to compile stats on the rest of us, they really don’t like having to report their own data, especially when it comes to police brutality complaints, shootings and killings. A new study finds that police officers kill twice as many people as they officially report to the FBI, and that — of course — black people are far more likely to be killed than whites.
A new study has found that police kill twice as many people as reported in official statistics, and that black men are 3 1/2 times more likely to be killed by police than white men.
The study, carried out by the University of Washington and Cornell University, used a variety of data sources and found that police officers are responsible for about 8 percent of all homicides of adult males in the United States – or about 2.8 homicides every day on average.
However, official statistics released by the police departments themselves show a rate of less than 4 percent.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also shows that the risk of being killed by police is 3.2 to 3.5 times higher for black men than white men, and between 1.4 and 1.7 times higher for Latino men.
If you’re the least bit surprised by this, you simply haven’t been paying attention. And this is a peculiarly American problem. No other developed nation has anything close to the number of police killings, even using the old data that is half of the real number. American police officers shoot and kill more people in a week than they do in Japan, Germany and virtually all of Europe. Why is that? And why is violent crime in general a far bigger problem in this country than in any other modern country in the world, by a huge margin?
Even after 25 years of declining violent crime in this country, we still lap the field when it comes to murder with guns, for instance. The rate here is about 29 gun murders per million people; the next closest is less than 8 per million. We have a comparable amount of property crime, but lethal violence is almost uniquely American compared to our wealthy allies. Why is that? And why do our police officers kill so many more people than virtually the rest of the Western world combined?