Chicago police have fatally shot 70 people over a five-year span, the highest among departments in the largest U.S. cities, writes the Better Government Association for the Chicago Sun-Times. The Chicago victims were nearly all male. Most were black. More than half of the killings happened in six South Side police districts. No other police department in any of the 10 most populous cities killed more people from 2010 through 2014, but Chicago ranks fourth behind Phoenix, Philadelphia and Dallas when the numbers are adjusted for population, showed an analysis of data obtained through interviews and open records requests. In Chicago, an officer was recently acquitted of killing an unarmed woman, the first time a cop has stood trial for a fatal shooting in more than a decade, and the FBI is investigating last year's death of a teen shot 16 times by Chicago police.
City officials say police shootings are trending lower this year. Officers had fatally shot three people in 2015 as of Friday, putting the department on pace to record the fewest killings since 2012 when there were a total of eight. “The real question is, are the shootings appropriate?” says former Los Angeles police officer David Klinger, criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “If not, that's where I get concerned.” Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) has investigated nearly 400 police shootings since 2007 and found only one to be unjustified. “Just because it was justified doesn't mean it was necessary,” says Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer now at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Perhaps, it could have been prevented by better training or different tactics.”