American police killed more people last year than they have in nearly a decade, according to a nonprofit organization that has tracked and published data on deadly state violence since 2013.
Mapping Police Violence’s 2022 tracking found that 1,176 people died during encounters with police last year, the highest number the organization has ever recorded. Samuel Sinyangwe, the creator of the project, said the number includes anyone who was killed by police, be it by shooting or other forms of force. According to Mapping Police Violence, police killed the equivalent of 3.2 people per day in 2022—and there were only 12 days in the whole year when a deadly police encounter was not reported.
More than a third of those killed by police encountered the authorities during a traffic stop, a mental health and welfare check, or a non-violent offense. All three of these causes for a police stop have been targeted for reform in multiple states because of how deadly they can be for civilians, particularly those who are not white. Elected leaders in Minnesota, California, and Pennsylvania for example, have passed legislation or enforced new policies de-prioritizing non-public safety traffic stops. Aurora, Colo. has seen a significant push to reform how police interact with the mentally ill, and to give them the tools to deescalate these situations at risk of becoming violent.
As has been true for the last nine years, Mapping Police Violence’s data shows that Black people made up a disproportionate chunk of those killed by cops in 2022, accounting for 24 percent of those killed, despite making up just over 13 percent of the population. One in three people killed by the police was fleeing the cops when they were killed, with Black, Hispanic, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders at least five to eight percent more likely to be killed while running or driving away compared to their white counterparts.
Perhaps the most alarming is how little accountability there has been as the number of police killings continues to grow. Though some of the highest profile instances of police violence saw a conviction in recent years, including that of Derek Chauvin in 2021, the overwhelming majority of officers still face no legal consequences when they take a life. According to the data, 98.1 percent of officers involved in the death of a citizen between 2013 and 2022 faced no charges. Less than 0.3 percent of officers were convicted.
The five departments in the country with the most deadly incidents were also located in some of the densest cities. The Los Angeles Police Department topped the list with 15 killings last year, followed by the Houston Police Department with 14 and the New York Police Department with 13. Members of the Albuquerque Police Department and the Phoenix Police Department killed 11 and 10 people respectively.
While 2022 was a record year, data shows that police violence has been on the rise nationally since 2019. Last year 1,140 people were killed by police, just five deaths short of the previous record high set in 2018.
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