Contrary to popular belief, police brutality is a problem that has been plaguing African Americans for years, going all the way back to the Black Panther days, and even having roots in the 1800s with the slave patrol.
In recent years, it seems like an awful cycle: a black person is attacked, shot, or killed by a police officer, African Americans protest peacefully while more radical ones riot, and then after a week or so everything dies down and seems like normal life until another black life is taken.
Here’s some facts and figures on police interactions with African Americans:
- Number of black people killed in police encounters in 2016: 194. Of these 173 were shooting deaths. Source: The Guardian
- Six of 10 black men reported unfair treatment by police in a 2015. Source: NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
- Seventy departments or more across the United States arrested black people at a rate 10 times higher than people who are not black. Source: USA Today
- African Americans are killed in numbers disproportionate to their percentage of the U.S. population. Blacks account for 24% of those shot and killed by police, and are just 13% of the U.S population. While whites are 49% of those killed by police, but are 62% of the population. Source: Washington Post
- Twenty-four of the 175 black men between the ages of 18-29 were unarmed. Source: Washington Post
- Thirteen percent of all black people who have been fatally shot by police in the first half of 2015 were unarmed, compared with 7 percent of all white people. Source: Washington Post
- After factoring in threat level, black Americans fatally shot by police are no more likely to be posing an imminent lethal threat to the officers at the moment they are killed than white Americans fatally shot by police. Source: Washington Post