Dec 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Fatal encounters with police remain high after George Floyd's death

A mural in honor of George Floyd. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The number of people killed in encounters with police has not fallen despite the uproar over the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright last year, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Although ex-officers Derek Chauvin and Kimberly Potter were convicted for their roles in the deaths of Floyd and Wright respectively, "accountability for officers who kill remains elusive," the Times writes.

By the numbers: Since Floyd's death in May 2020, over 1,600 people — or an average of three per day — have been killed by police, the Times reports, citing Mapping Police Violence, a nonprofit that tracks people killed by the police.

  • Black people are also still two and a half to three times as likely as white people to be killed by a police officer, according to Mapping Police Violence. A separate study from the University of Washington found Black people were 3.5 times more likely than white people to be killed by police.
  • Police killings have also been severely undercounted, with the University of Washington researchers saying that police killings, particularly of Black people, was a "public health crisis."
  • "Systemic and direct racism, manifested in laws and policies as well as personal implicit biases, result in Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic Americans being the targets of police violence," the researchers wrote in October.

The big picture: Murder or manslaughter charges against officers have increased this year, but criminal charges still remain exceptionally rare.

  • Convictions are even rarer, according to the Times' reporting.

Twenty-one officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter for an on-duty shooting, according to data from Philip M. Stinson, a criminal justice professor and a research team at Bowling Green, the Times reports.

  • It's the highest number since 2005, when researchers began compiling data, and an increase from 16 charged last year.

Go deeper: Activists focus on systemic change after verdict in Daunte Wright death

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