Fatal Shootings by U.S. Police Since 2015

The other day, I came across The Washington Post’s database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since January 1, 2015.

About the people and cases recorded, from their readme:

The Post is documenting only those shootings in which a police officer, in the line of duty, shot and killed a civilian --- the circumstances that most closely parallel the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., which began the protest movement culminating in Black Lives Matter and an increased focus on police accountability nationwide. The Post is not tracking deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.

I pulled the data and created the interactive tables below, where you can search for a state or city and see the number of killings in that area. By default, they are sorted by the total number of deaths per place, but you can also sort them by the number of deaths by race.

Tables last updated: 2020-07-01 21:57:13

Fatal shootings in every U.S. state since 2015

California has a much higher number of fatal shootings as compared to Texas, with over 300 more deaths. Hispanics are highly disproportionally affected in both states, as well as in Arizona and New Mexico.

It’s important to note that these tables show the raw counts and don’t include the populations of the areas, which you need to consider to have a holistic view of these cases. This The Washington Post article takes that into account and reports that New Mexico, Alaska, and Oklahoma have the highest rates of shootings.

To narrow down the 2,798 cities in the database, I’ve only included the cities with 10 or more killings.

U.S. cities with at least 10 fatal shootings

Los Angeles, the city with the most deaths in the state with the most deaths, has almost four times more killings than Bakersfield, the city with the second-most in California. To see the cities in a certain state, for example, you can search: , CA.

Racial demographics of the deaths vs. the U.S. Population

Overall, the Black community appears to clearly be disproportionately affected by this kind of violence. To see where they have been particularly affected, you can sort the number of killings per city by the number of Black people killed.

The Washington Post article I mentioned earlier presents their findings from the data, including a great plot that visualizes how Black Americans are killed at a rate twice as high as that of white Americans. They also discuss how the rate of shootings has remained steady each year and map where they occur and the number of shootings per million people.

More about the data

In 2015, The Post began tracking more than a dozen details about each killing --- including the race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, whether the person was armed and whether the victim was experiencing a mental-health crisis --- by culling local news reports, law enforcement websites and social media and by monitoring independent databases such as Killed by Police and Fatal Encounters. The Post conducted additional reporting in many cases.

Read more about The Washington Post’s project and check out the data at their GitHub repository

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