It seems like every time we read the news, we see another story about someone being killed by police. The most recent high-profile death was that of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. To contextualize the number of people killed by police, we took data from the 100 most populous cities in the United States and compared their rates of fatal police shootings.
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<img src="https://www.yourlawyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cities-most-fatal-police-shootings-6.png" alt="Cities With the Most Fatal Police Shootings in the U.S. - YourLawyer.com - Infographic" title="12 Cities With the Most Fatal Police Shootings in the U.S. - YourLawyer.com - Infographic"></a><br><a href="https://www.yourlawyer.com" alt="YourLawyer.com" title="YourLawyer.com">By YourLawyer.com</a>
Police Shooting Statistics by City
St. Louis has the largest percentage of fatal shootings per 100,000 residents. Roughly 36 out of every 100,000 St. Louis residents are shot and killed by police officers. This is 23% more than Orlando, which has seen the second-largest percentage of fatal shootings per 100,000 residents. Ninety of the 100 cities we analyzed had less than half the number of fatal shootings as St. Louis. Kansas City, another Missouri metropolis, also appears in the top ten at #6.
While New York City is the most populous city in the United States, having more than twice the number of residents as the second-most populous city, Los Angeles, it actually has the lowest rate of residents who are killed by police: 0.2 out of every 100,000 (or one in every half-million people). This is 83% lower than Plano, TX, the city in 99th place, and 99.5% lower than St. Louis.
Police killing statistics are part of the debate about the use of excessive force compared to the “protect and serve” duty, but they don’t tell the whole story. When we analyze police killings by race, the data shows strong disparities. The large percentage of black men killed by police has been used to suggest racial bias in law enforcement.
Police Killings by Race
Out of every 100,000 African-American men, 96 are shot and killed by police. This is highly disproportionate to the data for other races. It’s 39% more likely to see black men killed by police than American Indian and Alaskan Native men, 45% more likely than Latino men, and 59% more likely than white men.
These police killing statistics provide context for the widespread protests, some of them violent, in May and June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. As of this writing, Chauvin has been charged with second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Many believe he should face a first-degree murder charge. The other three officers on the scene of the incident have been fired from their positions and are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
In fact, it is becoming more and more uncommon for criminal charges to be filed against police officers for shooting deaths. In 2014, only 2.1% of fatal police shootings led to criminal charges against the officer. By 2018, this number had shrunk to 0.2%. It’s unknown how these statistics will change with more public awareness.
Out of 5,536 people killed by police between 2014 and 2018, a whopping 4,962 (90%) were killed by gunshots, while 219 were killed by police in a vehicle. To be killed by asphyxiation, as an independent autopsy of Floyd determined, is very uncommon. Therefore, there’s little legal precedent to predict an outcome of the upcoming trial.