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U.S. Police Killed 1,232 People Last Year, Highest Number in Decade

Police in the U.S. killed at least 1,232 people last year, making 2023 the deadliest year for homicides committed by law enforcement in more than a decade, Mapping Police Violence, a non-profit research group, catalogs deaths at the hands of police and last year recorded the highest number of killings since its national tracking began in 2013, The Guardian reports. The data suggests a remarkably consistent pattern, with an average of roughly three people killed by officers each day, with slight upticks in recent years. The group recorded 30 more deaths in 2023 than the previous year, with 1,202 people killed in 2022; 1,148 in 2021; 1,160 in 2020; and 1,098 in 2019. The numbers include shooting victims, as well as people fatally shocked by a stun gun, beaten or restrained.

High-profile 2023 cases included the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis; the tasing of Keenan Anderson in Los Angeles; and the shooting in Lancaster, Calif., of Niani Finlayson, who had called 911 for help over domestic violence. There were hundreds more who got little attention, including Ricky Cobb, shot by a Minnesota trooper after he was pulled over for a tail light violation; Tahmon Kenneth Wilson, unarmed and shot outside a Bay Area cannabis dispensary; and Isidra Clara Castillo, killed when police in Amarillo, Texas, fired at someone else in the same car as her. The circumstances behind the 2023 killings mirrored past trends. Last year, 445 people killed by police had been fleeing, representing 36% of all cases. There have been efforts across the country to prevent police from shooting at fleeing cars and people, recognizing the danger to the public. But the rates have been steady in recent years, with one in three killings involving people fleeing.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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