In 435 Chicago shootings over a recent six-year span, officers killed 92 people and wounded 170 others, firing a gun at someone every five days, on average. While a few of those incidents captured widespread attention, they occurred with such brutal regularity — and with scant information provided by police — that most have escaped public scrutiny. After months of struggles with Chicago police to get information through the Freedom of Information Act, the Chicago Tribune compiled an unprecedented database of details of every time police fired a weapon from 2010 through 2015. Analysis of that data revealed startling patterns about the officers who fired and the people they shot at.
At least 2,623 bullets were fired by police in 435 shootings. In 235 of those incidents, officers struck at least one person; in another 200 shootings, officers missed entirely. About four out of every five people shot by police were African-American males. About half of the officers involved in shootings were African American or Hispanic. The officers who fired weren’t rookies but, on average, had almost a decade of experience. Of the 520 officers who fired their weapons, more than 60 of them did so in more than one incident.The number of shootings by police declined over the six years, from more than 100 in 2011 to 44 in 2015. For years, examining the full scale of the problem in Chicago was impossible because the city refused to release most details about police-involved shootings.