Over the past few years, several cases of police brutality against Black Americans have made headlines, sparking protests in New Jersey and across the country. Despite the public outcry, the number of people killed by officers has increased over the last 24 months, according to a newspaper investigation.
More Black people shot by police
To analyze brutality by the police, The Washington Post has been collecting data on every fatal police shooting in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2015. This data shows police shot and killed 1,055 people nationwide in 2021, up from 1,021 in 2020 and 999 in 2019.
Around half of the people shot and killed by officers in 2021 were white, and 27% of the fatalities were Black. However, Black Americans account for just 13% of the U.S. population, meaning they were more than twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans last year. Hispanic people were also killed at a disproportionate rate.
Overall, police have shot and killed Black Americans at a rate of 42 people per million since 2015. They have also killed Hispanic Americans at a rate of 30 people per million. In comparison, police have killed white Americans at a rate of 17 people per million.
According to The Post’s data, fatal police shootings have taken place in every state, but New Mexico and Alaska have the highest rates, with 81 and 72 deadly shootings per million, respectively. New Jersey’s rate is 10 per million.
The search for solutions
In a story by NBC News, activists and legal observers discussed ways to reduce police brutality, noting that protests and increased media scrutiny haven’t solved the problem. Suggestions included changing the “us vs. them” mentality that’s present in many police departments, demilitarizing officers, increasing police accountability and redirecting police funding.