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Police Killings in the US Are at a Two-Decade High

The annual uniformed crime report shows an uptick in police killings, but is considered a woefully inadequate database.

by VICE News
Nov 13 2014, 4:34pm

Photo via Flickr

A new FBI report released Monday reveals that the number of felony suspects fatally shot by police in 2013 was the highest in two decades. A total of 461 individuals listed as "justifiable homicides" were shot dead by police in 2013, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. Unlawful police uses of lethal force are not listed.

The justifiable homicide count shows that an average of 96 black individuals are killed by a white officer every year, USA Today reported. Investigative site ProPublica last month published an analysis of reported police-related deaths, revealing that black male teens were 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white peers.

The annual Uniform Crime Report is considered by experts to offer an incomplete picture of police use of lethal force. As USA Today notes, the killings are self reported by police and not all law enforcement agencies even participate in the FBI count. The entire state of Florida, for example, submitted no statistics for 2013.

"It is irresponsible that we don't have a complete set of numbers,'' University of Nebraska criminologist Samuel Walker told USA Today. "Whether the numbers are up, down or stable, this (national database) needs to be done. ... This is a scandal," he said.

Stay tuned into the state of policing in America with VICE News' Officer Involved blog