The shooting death of Philando Castile by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on 7 July pushed the issue of the use of deadly force by police back into national headlines and ignited protests throughout the United States. Data collected by the Washington Post on US police shootings suggests that the use of deadly force is on the rise. So far this year 512 people have been shot and killed by police in the United States. This is a three-percent increase - or, 16 more deaths - than the same period of 2015 and roughly equal to the number of people that have been killed this year in mass shootings in the US. Additional highlights from the data, as feature in the visualizations, include the following:
The Washington Post began collecting data on shooting deaths by US police in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which rented national attention to police accountability. The Post aims to provide a more comprehensive accounting of incidents in response to the incompleteness and unreliability of data compiled by the FBI and other federal government agencies. The Post’s dataset, however, is not definitive. While the Post database reports 990 people were fatally shot by police in 2015, similar research by the Guardian "The Counted" suggests the figure is as high as 1,146 people.
Looking ahead, increasing use of cameras mounted to patrol cars and worn by police officers in the line of duty promises near-term changes in awareness and prosecution of incidents of abuse of power by police forces. So far this year, 65 police shootings have been recorded using police devices, almost as many incidents as were captured on police cameras in all of 2015. As more incidents have been captured on camera, there has been a corresponding increase in officers facing criminal charges.
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