Cops Killed More than 1000 People Last Year, Many Black and Unarmed
George Floyd Wasn’t the Only Unarmed Black Man Killed by Cops this Year
George Floyd wasn’t the only unarmed black man killed by cops this year. Did you know that, according to the advocacy group Mapping Police Violence, over a thousand people are killed by cops every single year? By comparison, mass shootings in our country only account for about 300 deaths a year.
Of those thousand-plus police killings each year, black people are the most likely to be killed. They are twice as likely to be killed as a Latino person and three times more likely to be killed than a white person. Black people are also one-and-a-half times more likely to be unarmed in fatal interactions with police, accounting for over 100 unarmed black people killed every year by cops.
To summarize these statistics, hundreds of black people every year are being killed by cops and many of them are unarmed. Not just George Floyd.
Protests and Black Lives Matter are NOT Making Much of a Difference
Cops killing black people is not a new trend. It’s been happening since the beginning of this country. Recently, there have been many protests against police violence. In 2014, after the killing of Michael Brown, there were nation-wide protests. In 2015 black people and their allies protested the death of Freddie Gray. Again, in 2017, there were huge protests after the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. These deaths, along with other systemic racism against black people, launched the Black Lives Matters movement to draw awareness to these issues.
There have been some successes. For example, after Freddy Gray, choke-hold and stronghold bans have reduced cop killings by up to 22% in Baltimore. However, despite nationwide awareness and coverage, the overall rate of police killings of black people has remained steady.
If You’re Black, Being Killed by a Cop is a Clear and Present Danger
If you are a black man living in America, you have a 1 in 1000 chance of being killed by the police. That means that, statistically, more black people are killed by cops than Americans are killed in motorcycle crashes. Yes, it’s that many!
So what do we do about the problem? Many advocates argue that no real change will happen until police unions are weakened. Why? Because even though many complaints are launched against police officers for wrongful deaths, 99% of those officers are never convicted. Their unions protect them. Police officers protect their own, even when the killings aren’t justified.
Former President Obama said yesterday that change will only happen with sustained, long-term and targeted efforts. For example, he encourages people to vote, especially at the local level, to remove corrupt and ineffective politicians and replace them with people who will tackle these problems.
The bottom line is hundreds of black men like George Floyd are killed every year at hands of cops. When people complain about these killings, the officers are rarely disciplined. Protests, riots and Black Lives Matters are not making a significant difference in the number of killings. So, we need a new strategy, such as targeting police unions and creating a nationwide ban on choke-holds and strongholds.
Let’s not let the momentum die as soon as the George Floyd riots stop. It will take a sustained effort to finally erase the racism in our police departments.
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