Report: 1,500 Americans died at the hands of the police in past 16 months


At a time of increasing criticism toward U.S. police, an activist group released a report accusing officers across the country of killing 1,500 Americans since January 2014, with 407 of the deaths coming in the first four months of this year.

Amid failed government efforts to count people killed by police, nearly 1,500 confirmed police-involved deaths have occurred in the U.S. since January 2014, according to data collected by an activist group. According to a list of every single person documented to have been killed by police released by "Killed by Police," the U.S. police were responsible for the deaths of 407 people in only four months this year.

The actual figure could be much higher than 1,500 as there is no verified U.S. database of police shootings. A specialized team of statisticians within the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) keeps track of the deaths of anyone that happened in the presence of a local or state law enforcement officer, as part of the arrest-related deaths program assessment (ARD).

Regarding police-related deaths, many people have died while being in police custody or shot dead in the process of arrest as in the case of Michael Brown.

Amid a spate of high-profile police killings, police brutality targeting black men is receiving much wider publicity in the country, including the case of Eric Garner, the Tamir Rice case in the Ohio, and Michael Brown in Ferguson in just one year. All these black men and many more died at the hands of police or in police custody. The latest case of 25-year-old Freddie Gray caused many people to take to the streets of Baltimore, leading to confrontations between protesters and police. Gray died on April 19 after suffering a fatal spinal injury while in custody. Racially charged protests across the country have shaken the U.S., as more people demand justice and an end to discrimination of black Americans.

American cities with predominantly black populations appear to be bearing the brunt of excessive force by police, as key incidents of police shootings prevail in these areas of the U.S. Police brutality toward black citizens is a frightening reality. The police killings and the subsequent brutal treatment of protesters has shed light on the disparity between "respect for equal rights and law enforcement's treatment of racial minorities."

The shooting and killing of black Americans by police has a long history in the U.S. Americans have long witnessed the deaths of black people and injustice at the hands of police. Recalling the August 2014 police killing of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent police crackdown on protesters, it can be noted that the shooting and killing of blacks has a long history. According to a report released by the Centre for Research on Globalization, the number of Americans killed by police has reached 5,000 in the last decade.

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