At least 385 people have been shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, more than two a day, says the Washington Post. That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete. “These shootings are grossly underreported,” said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation. “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don't begin to accurately track this information.”
The Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody. Via interviews, police reports, local news accounts and other sources, the Post tracked more than a dozen details about each killing through Friday, including the victim's race, whether the person was armed and the circumstances that led to the fatal encounter. About half the victims were white, half minority. The demographics shifted sharply among the unarmed victims, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred. More than 80 percent of victims were armed with potentially lethal objects, primarily guns, but also knives, machetes, revving vehicles and, in one case, a nail gun.