At least 2,002 people died during their arrests by state and local law enforcement officers from 2003 through 2005, says a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics compilation reported by the New York Times. Officers killed more than half of the suspects, 80 percent of whom, the officers reported, had threatened or assaulted them with a weapon. Drug and alcohol intoxication was the second-leading cause of death, accounting for 13 percent of the total, followed by suicide, accidental injuries, and illnesses or other natural causes.
The study was required the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which states must comply with to receive federal correctional grants. The study dealt with a pool of nearly 40 million arrests; deaths occurred in fewer than one ten-thousandth of 1 percent of them. California led the nation with 310 deaths, followed by Texas with 298 and Florida with 204. New York reported 97, New Jersey 37 and Connecticut 9. The number of arrest-related deaths increased 13 percent over the course of the three years studied, to 703 in 2005 from 622 in 2003.