Data | How badly are African-Americans affected by police brutality in the U.S.?

Demonstrator holds up a sign during a rally near the White House against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. U.S.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Protests against police brutality have been raging across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. An analysis of police shootings between 2013 and 2019 across the U.S. shows that African-Americans were disproportionately targeted.

Victims by race

African-Americans are three times more likely to be killed in police shootings than white people. Close to 42 per million population of African-Americans were killed in such shootings in the period, the highest among all races.

Which race was most affected by police killings?

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image/svg+xml Race of the victim No. of victims Victims per million people African American 1,944 42 Pacific Islander 42 29 Hispanic 1,335 22 Native American 112 20 White 3,378 14 Asian 118 5

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Share of unarmed victims by race

Over 17% of African-American victims were unarmed when they were killed, the highest among all races. They were 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed compared to white people when they were killed. More than 15% of Hispanic victims were unarmed when they were killed. In a significant number of cases, it was unclear whether the victims possessed weapons at the time of the police shooting. The table reflects the share of unarmed persons among known cases.

What was the share of unarmed victims?

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image/svg+xml % unarmed African American 17.3 Hispanic 15.1 White 13.4 Asian 10.2 Pacific Islander 9.5 Native American 8.9 Race of the victim

Also read: Data | Why is it necessary to test more to reduce the impact of COVID-19?

Victims of an off-duty officer

African-Americans were also most at risk at being killed by an off-duty officer. Nearly 5% (96) of all African-American victims (1,944) died after being shot by an officer who was not on duty.

Which race was most affected by actions of off-duty officers?

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image/svg+xml Off-duty killings % 96 4.9 White 79 2.3 Hispanic 25 1.9 Unknown race 24 3.3 Pacific Islander 1 2.4 Native American 1 0.9 Asian 0 0.0 African American Race of the victim

Was the police held accountable?

In more than 98% (7,564) of the shootings, officers were not charged with any crime. Charges were framed in 99 instances but convictions were recorded in only 20.

What was the share of instances in which police officers were charged or convicted?

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image/svg+xml Category % Acquitted 0.26 Charged 0.70 Convicted 0.33 Uncharged 98.71

Last word

A large number of African-Americans have taken to the streets across the U.S. in the midst of the pandemic. This may adversely impact the country’s fight against COVID-19, which has infected a disproportionate share of African-Americans. While African-Americans make up around 13% of the population, they account for 26% of COVID-19 cases and 25% of deaths related to the disease.

In the U.S., race plays a role in access to housing, medical care and employment opportunities, and income levels. African-Americans have a high prevalence of comorbidities and are 1.5 times more likely to not have medical insurance compared to white Americans.

Sources: Mapping Police Violence, Tonia Poteat et al; “Understanding COVID-19 Risks and Vulnerabilities among Black Communities in America: The Lethal Force of Syndemics”

Also read: COVID-19 | State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 10:56:27 AM |

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