Behind the Numbers: Fatal Police Shootings


    More than 700 people have been fatally shot by police this year. Last year a total of 990 people were fatally shot by police.

    According to The Washington Post, there have been seven fewer fatal shootings this year that at the same time last years. So far this month, 66 people have been shot.

    The Washington Post has created an on-going database that catalogs every fatal shooting nationwide by a police officer in the line of duty.

    This database was started in 2015 and is based on news reports, public records, social media and other sources. The Washington Post states that “the effort began because data compiled by the federal government was unreliable and incomplete.”

    Washington Post Insights

    • The Post has identified names of officers involved in more than a third of the cases.

    • Mental illness played a role in a quarter of the incidents.

    • Just under half the victims were white, while a quarter we black.

    • Just under a third of the people killed in police shootings were under the age of 30.

    • More than half of the people shot and killed by police were armed with a gun, while 1 in 20 were unarmed.

    • Almost all of the people shot and killed by police were men.

    • More than a third of the people shot and killed by police had fled from officers.

    • Body-worn police cameras were known to be recording in 1 in 8 fatal police shootings.

    Open Records Request

    This year the Post has been filing for open records requests to every police department that has been involved in a fatale shooting.

    Open records are documents in the possession of a government entity that are supposed to be made available to members of the public on request.

    The Post has filed 720 open records request this year. More than 200 requests have been completely or partially fulfilled, 65 requests have been denied and 421 are still pending.

    The post states that requests have been denied for various reasons.

    Population Census

    Based on data from the United States Census Bureau, 13.3 percent of the nations population is black or African American.

    The number of black people being fatally shot by police, 25 percent, is doubled compared to the number of black people in the population.

    North Carolina Shootings

    There has been 25 fatal shootings in N.C. this year. That is 2.5 shooting per 1 million people.

    Keith Lemont Scott was the recent shooting to have happened in N.C., which sparked protests.

    For more information on the database created by The Washington Post visit

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