The figure, which comes 31 days after the release of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing report, averages out to more than three people killed in America each day by police officers. Out of the 111 people who died during police encounters, the majority have been unarmed men of color. Many of the victims were mentally ill. And a number were both, Think Progress points out.
Despite an ongoing national conversation surrounding officer misconduct, racial profiling, and use of excessive force, the numbers seem to be steadily increasing. In fact, March saw 36 more deaths at the hands of police than the previous month. And if recently proposed legislation to withhold the identity of officers involved in a shooting is any indication, the law is leaning away from citizens and aiding police departments in their historically non-transparent practices.
The public needs legitimate data collection practices that promote transparency and accountability when police use unreasonable force. We need something a little more thoughtful than a Google search to give us the stats on the number of police shootings — fatal or nonfatal — in any given period of time.
As the ACLU explained to the task force, data collection and reporting is the easiest single thing any police department can do starting today. And it will offer the best depiction of what policing in the 21st century looks like.
Both the ACLU and the task force recommend data collection on a range of police and citizen encounters — from stops and arrests to nonfatal and fatal police shootings. “Policies on use of force,” the task force writes, “should also require agencies to collect, maintain, and report data to the Federal Government on all officer-involved shootings, whether fatal or nonfatal, as well as any in-custody death.” And data must be inclusive not just of race and gender but disability as well.
As of April 2, two individuals have been killed by police — one in California and another in New York — according to KilledByPolice. The circumstances surrounding the deaths was not specified.
For a list of those killed by law enforcement in the month of March, including Anthony Hill, Tony Robinson,and Brandon Jones, see here.