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In the US, the police kill more than three people a day

The year 2022 has been the year in which the US police have killed the most people in at least ten years: 1,176 deaths have been recorded, according to the report of the US association Mapping Police Violence, which identifies and maps police violence from NGO reports, articles and figures. That’s more than three deaths a day. Unheard of, according to the association established in 2015.

Samuel Sinyangwe, the founder of Mapping Police Violence, nevertheless claims that this increase was not a big surprise, stating that “surveys [de l’association] suggests that the past decade has had the highest rate of fatal police brutality in at least forty or fifty years.”.

Many victims, but few violent criminals

One of the main conclusions from these figures is that there is no correlation between violent crime and the number of deaths caused by the police. “Only a third of those killed committed or had committed a violent crime. In the rest of the cases, the individuals were involved in misdemeanors or non-violent crimes, or for that matter were not even suspected of a crime at all. A third was on the run when they were killed.”

Most of the interventions that caused deaths were thus “road control, intervention after episodes of mental disorders, for disturbances in the home or public order and in situations where no crime has been reported”.

There is also no correlation between the crime rate in a particular geographic area and the number of deaths attributed to the police. Cities with a similar crime rate can therefore have very different rates of police violence. Case in point: Samuel Sinyangwe, who lives in Orlando, Florida, believes that “it’s not the worst city at all when it comes to crime or murder”. However, the police there kill an average of 7.5 people a year, which places the city in twelfth place in a ranking that includes the fifty largest American cities.

For the founder of Mapping Police Violence, »so there is another factor that determines how the police react. Why, in the same situation, some police departments will respond with violence and others will not. He elicits a clue: the differences in police policies by states and cities.

The situation gets worse in the most conservative cities

The analysis of the effects on the statistics for 2022 of the various measures that have recently been adopted regarding police violence tends to show that he is right. After the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, many wanted to cut police and divert funds to other expenses. Since then, Samuel Sinyangwe has noticed“There has been progress in police brutality in progressive cities that have moved in this direction. But on the other hand, the numbers have worsened in the most conservative areas of the country.

Thus, the number of people killed by police in more progressive urban areas is down in 2022. In contrast, the number of deaths in rural and more conservative areas, with county sheriff’s departments, is at an all-time high. The expert notes this in particular “County sheriff’s departments accounted for 36% of all police-related deaths by 2022. Ten years ago, they accounted for only 25% of cases. And the increase was gradual, so it’s possible it will continue for years to come.”

African Americans and Hispanics are more often targeted

Not only does the rate of fatal police violence vary greatly from one geographic area to another, but it also differs according to the origin of the victims.

Thus, people from the African-American or Latino community are killed by the police much more often than white people: in 2022, 24% of people killed by the police were black, while African-Americans represent only 13% of the country’s population. A black person is thus three times more likely to be killed by the police than a white person. Those of Hispanic origin are twice as likely to pass as whites.

“If someone is homeless, they don’t need to go to jail, they need help with housing. If someone is addicted to a drug, toxicology support.”

Samuel Sinyangwe, founder of Mapping Police Violence

“This observation applies throughout the country.insists Samuel Sinyangwe. Black people are not killed the most in only two of America’s fifty largest cities [Los Angeles et Houston, ndlr]. And in these cities, it is people of Hispanic descent who are most often the victims of fatal police violence.”

alternatives to the police

When it comes to possible solutions to this unprecedented police violence, the Mapping Police Violence founder believes there are two main avenues to explore.

First, he believes that systematic arrests for non-violent misdemeanors or felonies should be reduced. For him, this would prevent police violence and would also reduce it “The number of people sent to prison, which are also very violent places, for non-violent crimes, which is another very big problem with the American penal system”. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of incarcerated people are behind bars for misdemeanor or non-violent crimes. According to the Prison Studies Association, the United States even has the largest prison population in the world, with more than two million people incarcerated in 2019.

Another solution is to develop alternatives to the police in situations where it is not necessary to mobilize its forces: Samuel Sinyangwe is convinced to found other organizations that can respond to emergencies “would avoid most deaths”.

Some states have already launched such programs with promising results. The support team assisted response (STAR) program in Denver (Colorado) is probably the most developed and best known in the country. Instead of sending out the police, the city’s emergency dispatchers can now choose to send out clinicians who know how to care for the mentally ill, the homeless and people suffering from addiction.

A program report from mid-2022 indicates that STAR teams handled nearly 3,000 calls between January and June of this year. They never had to call the police for help and violence was never used under any circumstances.

1% of police officers convicted

Samuel Sinyangwe would like to see these kinds of programs democratized in the rest of the United States. Not only to reduce police violence, but also to allow the people affected to be properly cared for. “If someone is homeless, they don’t need to go to jail, they need help with housing. If someone is addicted to a drug, toxicological support. If someone has mental problems, psychological help.”

Finally, he emphasizes the importance of holding police officers accountable who commit violence, especially when it leads to someone’s death: Currently, only 2% of police officers are charged after fatal violence. , and only 1% are sentenced – often to lighter sentences than civilians who have committed the same crimes. In short, Samuel Sinyangwe criticizes the American legal system for “approve[r] this violence and these deaths”.



  1. For my thesis, I consulted a lot of information, read your article made me feel a lot, benefited me a lot from it, thank you for your help. Thanks!


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