Fatal police shootings rose last year to their highest level since records began seven years ago, with 1,055 people being shot and killed nationwide by officers.
Despite attention being focused on police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s 2020 murder, the death rate continued to climb, according to an annual survey by The Washington Post.
The paper has since 2015 maintained its own database of police shootings, tracking them through news reports and social media. The government does not collate its own record.
The least deadly year of the last seven was 2016, when 958 people were shot and killed by police.
In 2020, the figure surpassed 1,000 for the first time, with 1,021 deaths.
Protesters in Ohio demand justice for Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, after she lunged at another girl with a knife
Criminology experts told the paper that the rise from 1,021 in 2020 to 1,055 in 2021 was statistically not of great significance, and did not show a significant spike.
Franklin Zimring, a law professor and criminologist at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Post: ‘The good news is, things aren’t getting an awful lot worse.
‘And the very bad news is that they’re not getting better, either.’
However, the number of black people being killed by police remains of real concern.
Of the 1,055 killed, 234 were white and 139 black, with 66 Hispanics dying.
Black people account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. Hispanic Americans are also killed by police at a disproportionate rate.
Men are also far more likely to die in police shootings, with 996 of the 1,055 victims male.
Women accounted for 56, and three were unknown.
Roughly 14 percent had known mental health struggles, down from about one-fifth in the two previous years and about one-fourth in 2016 and 2015.
Sixteen percent of people fatally shot last year were killed after police responded to a domestic-disturbance call. Eleven percent were fatally shot after someone called 911.
Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed in Minnesota by Officer Kim Potter in April 2021. In December, she was found guilty of manslaughter, and is awaiting sentencing this month
Almost half of those who died were aged 30-44. Seventeen were aged under 18.
They included Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio, after she lunged at another girl with a knife.
Adam Toledo, 13, died in March when he ran from police in Chicago, and was shot as he turned towards the officer and raised his hands.
Toledo appears to have been holding something in his hand when he stopped running. Police have said it was a gun that they later recovered. An attorney for Toledo’s family said he had dropped the gun and put up his hands before the officer fired.
One of the most high-profile police killings of 2021 was Daunte Wright, 20, who was shot and killed by Kim Potter at a traffic stop in Minnesota.
Potter in December was found guilty of manslaughter, and will be sentenced on February 18.
Police in Minnesota are seen approaching the car that Daunte Wright was driving, after Kim Potter shot and killed him
Potter, a 26-year police veteran, is seen in her April 14 mugshot after being arrested for Wright’s killing
Potter cries in court on December 17 during her manslaughter trial
Protesters are seen on November 30 outside the courthouse as Potter’s trial began
Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was shot and killed by police in Ohio during a fight with other youngsters
Bryant is seen slumped against a car as a girl in pink runs away, in a still from the officer’s body-camera
The remains of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant are carried from the chapel following her funeral service in Ohio on April 30
Three quarters of those killed were armed with a gun or a knife – 632 had a firearm, and 154 had a knife.
A vehicle was deemed a weapon in 57 of the shootings.
Thirty five were carrying a toy weapon when they were killed.
Only 34 were unarmed, and the status was unknown for 96 of the 1,055.
About 20 percent of the fatal police shootings were captured on body cameras — the highest portion since The Post began tracking. In 2015, the first year data was collected, body-camera video existed for roughly 8 percent of shootings.
The highest number of shootings was in California, with 141 people dying at the hands of the police, followed by Texas with 95 and Georgia with 51.
The lowest number was Rhode Island, with only one fatality.
Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermont had two, while North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming had three.
Proportionately, states with the highest rates of shootings are New Mexico, Alaska and Oklahoma.