New Report Shows Number of People Killed by Police Skyrocketed in 2020
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
According to estimates compiled by the Mapping Police Violence project, roughly 1,000 people have been killed by law enforcement in the past year.
The new report revealed that at least 28 percent of those killed were African Americans, who make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Although this figure is staggering, the Center for American Progress (CAP) noted that it is almost certainly under-represents the actual number of civilians who died while in the custody of the criminal justice system. The full scope of which cannot be determined due to a lack of official data.
According to CAP, data on deaths in custody is crucial for holding law enforcement and correctional facilities across the country accountable.
The organization said the absence of accurate and complete information on the number of people who die in custody and the nature of such deaths, stifles policymakers’ ability to examine the underlying causes, let alone determine what can be done to lower the incidence.
In a new brief, CAP urged Congress and state legislatures to take the initiative to ensure the dependability of forthcoming data on deaths in custody.
“One year ago, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police as the world watched, spurring a blistering call for police accountability in the United States,” CAP noted.
“Floyd is one among the countless Black Americans and other people of color killed by law enforcement: Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Amadou Diallo, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Daniel Prude, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clark, and too many others. In the year since Floyd’s death, the list has grown longer still with the deaths of Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, Daunte Wright, Ma’Khia Bryant, Adam Toledo, Andrew Brown, and, again, too many others.”
According to CAP, while the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began collecting data on deaths in custody in 2020 under the Death in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA) of 2013, outstanding funding and compliance issues could compromise the quality of the impending data.
“Findings based on such flawed data would not help policymakers understand the causes of deaths in custody or reduce their occurrence, the primary purpose of the DCRA,” CAP editors wrote.
CAP’s brief underscored how critical actions could be taken to address these concerns about data on deaths in custody.
“Congress should appropriate the necessary funding for the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance to implement a methodology to search for and validate leads on deaths in custody,” Kenny Lo, a research associate for Criminal Justice Reform at American Progress, wrote in the May 24 brief.
“A similar approach enabled the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to identify nearly three times more arrest-related deaths than before as part of a broader effort that cost BJS less than $5 million between fiscal years 2014 and 2017.”
For their part, state legislatures should look to compel all state and local law enforcement agencies to report DCRA data, Lo continued.
States such as California, Texas, Maryland, and Tennessee already have laws that require all agencies to report data similar to those required by the DCRA, serving as models for other states to follow, Lo Wrote. Incentivizing DCRA compliance by all agencies would improve the quality of the data and bring about meaningful accountability in the criminal justice system, he continued.
“Our nation urgently needs to confront the scourge of police violence against communities of color. Yet for decades, the government has failed to track the number of deaths that occur in the justice system,” said Betsy Pearl, associate director for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress.
“While data collection alone can’t end systemic racism in our justice system and can’t bring back the countless lives lost, it’s essential for laying the groundwork to create real accountability and justice for all.”
Another black man dead at the hands of police pushes Minneapolis to the brink
With the police killing of Daunte Wright, Minneapolis once again finds itself at the centre of a national reckoning about racial injustice and police reform in America
The helicopters whirred overhead as night fell in Minneapolis. At 7pm millions of phones across the district pinged with an emergency alert. “CURFEW IN EFFECT from 7pm to 6am. Stay home, stay safe,” flashed across screens.
But just north of the city, many chose not to heed the warning. Instead, they remained on the streets, embracing their right to protest, as heavily armed police and national guard troops looked on in riot gear.
Almost 11 months after the death of George Floyd on a curbside in southern Minneapolis shocked the nation and the world, Minneapolis once again finds itself at the center of a national reckoning about racial injustice and police reform in America.
Daunte Wright Shooting.
Daunte Wright a 20-year-old Black man was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center police on Sunday. But the end of his life was not all we should know about him. As a student Daunte worked with Project Success, a non-profit that helps Minneapolis school students plan for their futures. His Facilitator shared that he lit up the room in our classroom workshops. We are heartbroken and thinking of his family, friends, and community, as well as working to support our team as we all process and grieve the loss of another Black life. The shooting injected more frustration and anxiety into the Twin Cities region, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, is now in its third week. The issue is when will the police stop dealing with people of color with such violence, black lives matter! This is so so sad :(….
Adam Toledo Shooting
The killing of Adam Toledo, 13, by a police officer in the early morning hours of March 29. Adam is chased down a dark alley by Officer Eric Stillman Chicago police. Mayor Lightfoot warned the public not to act as “judge and jury.” Yet Officer Stillman acted as judge, jury and executioner. Consider that a child out at 2:30 a.m. does not deserve a death sentence. Nor is running — even with a gun — from the police a capital offense. Despite Stillman’s professional training at taxpayer expense, he escalated the situation by cursing at Adam as he chased him, yelling, “Show me your f—ing hands!” When Adam put his hands in the air, Stillman shot him anyway. The officer later filled out a report marking that Adam “did not follow verbal direction.” This contradicts what the Toledo family lawyer has said she saw in the footage.
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