The number of people fatally shot by Oklahoma law enforcement officers has tripled since 2009, and all but one of the shootings were ruled justified, reports the Tulsa World. In the past seven years, 109 people have died statewide after being shot by officers during incidents ranging from long, violent standoffs to split-second shootouts. Experts say they aren't sure why fatal police shootings have increased, but they point to increased militarization of police forces, more cases of “suicide by cop” and a need for more training.
The newspaper cobbled together the data from various sources because law enforcement shootings are not tabulated by any public agency. The World found that only one of the 109 cases was ruled unjustified and resulted in criminal charges. Fewer than half the fatal shootings involved Tulsa and Oklahoma City police. The majority involved state police, county deputies, small-town police, tribal nation police, state park officers and federal officers. Blacks, who account for 7 percent of the state population, were killed in 18 percent of the shootings. Most of those killed were armed, usually with a gun. About one in five were unarmed.