Nearly one third of people killed by U.S. police officers since 2015 were running away, driving off or attempting to flee when the officer fatally shot or used lethal force against them, the Guardian reports In the past seven years, police have killed more than 2,500 people who were fleeing, and those numbers have slightly increased in recent years, amounting to an average of about one killing a day of someone running or trying to escape, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group that tracks lethal force cases. In many cases, the encounters started as traffic stops, or there were no allegations of violence or serious crimes prompting police contact. Some were shot in the back while running and others were passengers in fleeing cars.
U.S. police kill more people in days than many countries do in years, with roughly 1,100 fatalities a year since 2013. The numbers haven’t changed since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, and they haven’t budged since George Floyd’s murder inspired international protests in 2020. Two recent cases have sparked national outrage and protests. In Akron, Oh., on June 27, officers fired dozens of rounds at Jayland Walker, who was unarmed and running when he was killed. Last week, an officer in San Bernardino, Ca., exited an unmarked car and immediately fired at Robert Adams as he ran in the opposite direction. Despite a decades-long push to hold officers accountable for killing civilians, prosecution remains rare. Of the 2,500 people killed while fleeing since 2015, only 50 have resulted in criminal charges. The majority of those charges were either dismissed or resulted in acquittals. Only nine officers were convicted, representing 0.35 percent of cases.