According to The Washington Post, the number of fatal police shootings is declining, which clearly doesn’t comfort many people when you have tragedies like Stephon Clark. The Post reports, “In 2015, police shot and killed 94 unarmed individuals, a number that fell to 51 in 2016 before rising to 68 in 2017. This year, police have shot and killed 18, eight fewer than at the same time last year.”
“Eight fewer” does not sound like it has “significantly declined,” which is the language The Washington Post uses. These numbers are very small, therefore, “Academics warn against over-interpreting the data relating to a decline of evidence of bias” and “even a few cases recorded in error could produce a different result.” The Post also reports “police have shot and killed 3,309 people since 2015, or more than twice as many fatal shootings per year as the average reported by the FBI. Of those killed, 231, or 7 percent, were not armed with guns, knives or other objects that could be used as weapons at the time of the shootings, according to the data.” Nonetheless, the rate of unarmed Black men killed is still high, see the chart below.
The Washington Post began their research in 2015, after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown would have been 22 years old this month on May 20.
Regardless of whether the numbers are on the decline, the objective has been for police to have consequences for the actions and not be protected by the “blue wall” of silence. As we all know, cops are rarely charged when killing an unarmed Black man or woman. If there are rarely any consequences, these injustice will continue — regardless if the number trickles because eight fewer people were gunned down this time last year.