U.S. law enforcers have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people this year, according to tabulations by the Washington Post. The newspaper’s count may be the most precise statistic ever on officer-involved shootings since government officials have declined to tabulate the figure–something that FBI Director James Comey recently called “embarrassing and ridiculous.” He said the FBI will begin its own count in 2017.
The newspaper found that a quarter of the shooting victims were in the throes of a mental or emotional crisis. Many of those shootings could have been prevented if officers were better trained on how to handle such encounters, experts said. A Post analysis also found that a quarter of fatal shootings involved a fleeing suspect; that 18 officers faced criminal charges related to shootings in 2015, up from an annual average of five over the past decade; that in about three-quarters of the shootings, police were under attack or were defending someone who was; that about 6 percent were captured on police cameras, and that about one in 10 of those shot and killed were unarmed.