31 May 2015

US police killing two people a day

8:01 pm on 31 May 2015

United States police have killed people at a rate of more than two a day this year, The Washington Post reports.

A state trooper aims his gun at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, on 25 November, 2014 during a demonstration a day after violent protests and looting following the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of  Michael Brown.

A state trooper aims his gun at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, on 25 November, 2014 during a demonstration a day after violent protests and looting following the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Photo: AFP

The newspaper is tracking such killings across America because local police departments are not required to file reports to the US government, meaning that nationwide statistics are incomplete or unavailable.

The Post found so far this year, at least 385 people have been shot and killed by police across the United States - a rate of more than two a day.

The rate is far higher than that tallied over the past decade by the government, which must rely on partial data because of the voluntary reporting requirements.

The Post found many of the killings stemmed from minor interactions between police and community members that escalated into sudden violence.

In one case, for instance, police in the Florida city of Miami Gardens killed a schizophrenic man who was waving a broomstick. His mother had called police because she couldn't persuade him to come in from the cold.

Still, the Post noted, most of those killed this year were armed with potentially lethal objects - mainly guns, but also knives and other items.

The Post found overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities in the police killings it analysed.

One of the most prominent recent cases is that of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was fatally shot last year in Ferguson, Missouri.

The death and subsequent lack of legal action against the police officer who shot him prompted widespread riots in the St Louis suburb.

In Baltimore last month, riots broke out following protests over the death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died from injuries sustained in the back of a police van.

- AFP -

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