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Police continue to shoot, kill Blacks at far higher rate than other groups: study

Police reforms in the wake of the George Floyd shooting have proven uneven

All of the social justice initiatives and protests surrounding the deaths of Black people at the hands of police have not changed one unconscionable fact — cops still shoot and kill African Americans at a higher proportion than any other ethnic group. 

That’s the conclusion based on data from the Washington Post, which has been monitoring on-duty police shootings since 2017. 

The data show that police-involved fatal shootings remain relatively steady at about 1,000 per year, with the stat in 2021 coming in slightly higher at 1,055.

Pictured is the back of the jacket worn by Tamika Palmer, the mother of Louisville police shooting victim Breonna Taylor, to court Wednesday. It reportedly got her asked to leave the trial of Brett Hankison. (Photo: Screenshot/Instagram)

The data also reiterate a scary proposition for Black people: although more than half of police shootings involved white victims, Blacks were shot and killed at a far more disproportionate rate. 

The Post data show that 197 million white people live in America. More than 3,000 people of the demographic have been killed by police since the Post began tracking deaths, or about 15 per 1 million.

Black people, on the other hand, make up about 42 million people in the country but suffered nearly 1,600 deaths, or 38 per 1 million. 

In other words, Black people are more than twice as likely to be killed by police. The news isn’t any better for Hispanics, who are killed at the rate of 28 per 1 million, nearly twice that of whites.

Renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump in a tweet lamented that the country has made no major changes in policing, despite the record number of people fatally shot by officers.

“We need MEANINGFUL reform to reduce use-of-force police incidents,” he said.

The @WashingtonPost reported a record 1,055 people fatally shot by police nationwide last yr, yet there have been NO major changes in policing for officer-involved shooting deaths! We need MEANINGFUL reform to reduce use-of-force police incidents! https://t.co/HMhJZV5GIX

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 11, 2022

“The system wasn’t built to protect Black people,” Karundi Williams, the CEO of re:power, told NBC News.

“And until we get to the root cause of policing and police brutality and the differences in the way police treat Black folks versus white folks, we’re not going to get to change,” said Williams, whose organization trains Black people for political leadership.

Carl Douglas, a Los Angeles-based rights lawyer, noted change moves at a glacial pace.

Protesters gather alongside the family of Daunte Wright outside of the Hennepin County Government Center on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

“I am not surprised by the numbers,” he told NBC News. “I have been in this civil rights game 42 years. Change moves at the speed of an ocean liner and not a speedboat. I am optimistic, because I did see white people marching on behalf of Black civil rights, and that is progress. Those are incremental steps of progress. But they aren’t stopping the problem.”

The Associated Press noted that police reforms in the wake of high-profile deaths like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have proven uneven. 

Some states have mandated the use of body cameras and banned chokeholds and no-knock warrants. But other states, especially those controlled by Republicans, have expanded police power and passed laws that make it easier to arrest protestors, the AP noted. 

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