What it's like to survive being shot by the police

VICE News interviewed survivors of nonfatal police shootings about how the incidents upended their lives.

Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Laquan McDonald.

These are the names we remember. They grabbed headlines, became hashtags, and were chanted at protests. But for every person shot and killed by the police, a VICE News investigation has found, another person survives and must live with the consequences. These people are often forgotten in the debate over police violence.

By examining records of more than 4,000 officer-involved shootings — including both fatal and nonfatal incidents — from the 50 largest local police departments, we found that shootings of unarmed citizens are far more common than anyone realized. We also found that police shoot black and Hispanic people at a higher rate than people of other ethnicities, even though they are less likely to be armed in these incidents.


Many of the people wounded in police shootings end up facing charges themselves. Some spend time in jail while still recovering from their injuries, which can be severe. We spoke to four survivors of police shootings about how being shot upended their lives.

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Shot by cops and forgottenCredits
Rob Arthur, Taylor Dolven, Keegan Hamilton, Allison McCann,
and Carter Sherman reported and wrote this story.
Kathleen Caulderwood produced the videos.
Morgan Conley, Josh Marcus, and Diamond Naga Siu contributed research and reporting. Adam Arthur and Dylan Sandifer contributed research.
Illustrations by Xia Gordon. Design by Leslie Xia. Graphics by Allison McCann.
Read more about how we collected and analyzed the data.