US police have killed more people in the first seven months of the year than they have in any other year, according to Mapping Police Violence database.
Cops have already killed more than 700 people in 2022 and are on track to kill more people this year than any year since the project began tracking police killings in 2013.
The numbers are a sobering look at where movements to reform or abolish police departments stand two years after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a national debate about the role of police in public safety.
Despite a push by activists and aligned politicians to cut police budgets, reform police training standards and, in one high-profile case, replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety, there are only eight days until moment this year. on which US police officers have not killed anyone.
Mapping Police Violence data gives a clear picture of the issues plaguing American policing.
Since 2013, the database has found that blacks are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites, while police kill blacks at a higher rate than whites in 48 of the nation’s 50 largest cities.
Evidence for the fatal shootings themselves is also indicative. According to the database, only one in three police killings begins with an alleged violent crime.
The other two-thirds, the vast majority, start with things like traffic stops, mental health crises and alleged non-violent crimes. A significant number of people fled the moment they were killed.
It’s this kind of data that has led cities like Portland and Minneapolis to develop dedicated team’s they are not affiliated with the police to respond to mental health calls in other cities and states experiment also taking low-level traffic enforcement out of the hands of the police.
The stakes of reform efforts like these are high.
“Without transformative changes to interrupt the current trajectory of police brutality, another ~440 people will likely be killed by police before the end of the year,” database founder Samuel Sinyangwe tweeted on Monday.
Despite the wave of momentum that followed the protests sparked by Mr. Floyd’s murder, it is clear that the US has yet to make these transformative changes. The modest 2021 House-passed George Floyd Policing Justice Reform Act has been delayed in the Senate, while President Joe Biden has called for an increase financing to the police.