Increased media attention on both police misconduct and violence against police officers might lead you to believe that there’s been a sharp rise in the number of police officers being killed in the line of duty each year in the United States.
How many police officers are killed in the line of duty?
Here are some numbers on police officers killed in the line of duty:
- Overall, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 rose by just 10 percent, but the number of officers who died after being shot rose by 56 percent.
- In 2016, 64 police officers were killed in gun incidents, up from 41 in 2015.
Former police officer Seth Stoughton, now an assistant law professor at the University of South Carolina, told NPR that it’s misleading to compare the numbers from year-to-year. Although there have been some fluctuations with the numbers over the past few years, overall, police killings are only half as high as they were four decades ago.
There has been a change, however, in the perception of violence against police officers, thanks to high-profile killings of multiple police officers in 2016, including in Dallas and Baton Rouge, where snipers targeted officers.
How many people are killed by police each year?
The number of people killed by police officers each year is much higher than the number of officers killed. Here are some statistics:
- About 1,000 people are shot and killed each year by on-duty police officers, according to CNN. Those numbers come from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- As of September 2016, only 77 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter since 2005.
- Of those 77 charged, 26 were convicted, 28 were not convicted, and 23 of those cases were still pending as of last year.
- Of the 26 convictions, 13 of the officers pleaded guilty.
- In 2015, a year in which several high-profile cases of black men being killed by police came to light, 18 police officers were criminally charged. That’s three times more than usual.
- Collecting data on police misconduct and crimes committed by police officers is no easy task, because there is no official national data set.
If you or someone you love has been the target of police misconduct, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today for help.