The Washington Post, an American newspaper, has researched homicides across the country. According to its count, at least 385 people have been killed by police in the United States since January.
This figure of two people killed by police per day is much higher than the figures published annually by the federal government over the past decade. The official statistics have been judged to be incomplete because local law enforcement is not obligated to conduct a report after every homicide perpetrated by their officers.
This calculation has surfaced just as the country is in the grips of a very lively debate about the level of police violence, with the black and Latino communities in particular being affected. Incidentally, the Post has indicated that three times more black people have been murdered at the hands of police since the beginning of 2015.
Civil unrest has exploded since the August 2014 death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, who was shot by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri. Last month, the city of Baltimore, Maryland, was also subjected to civil unrest after another black man, 25-year-old Freddy Gray, died at the hands of the police.
A Schizophrenic with a Broom
Also according to the Post’s investigation, most people killed by law enforcement personnel were armed, mostly with pistols, but also with knives or other lethal weapons. Only 16 percent were not armed at all, or were carrying replica weapons.
The newspaper has also discovered that these deaths were often the result of altercations between police and members of the public which, ultimately, degenerated. In one such case, the police in Florida attacked a schizophrenic man who was wielding a broomstick. His mother had called the police because she had been unable to convince him to come inside so he would not catch a cold.