If it's often felt this year that every week brought another story about a officer-invovled fatal shooting of a citizen, you're not wrong. In fact, it's been much more than one a week, according to a new report from The Guardian that puts the shocking numbers into stark relief.
That's how many people the Guardian reported have been killed by U.S. law enforcement this year through Sunday, when a man in Oakland, California, was shot after allegedly pointing a replica gun at officers. The hard-to-belive four-digit figure comes from an ongoing database project called The Counted, in which the Guardian has endeavored to record "every fatality caused by police and other law enforcement officers" this calendar year.
Each entry catalogs the name of the deceased and any details on how they were killed. The Guardian reported that Sunday's incident in Oakland was the 883rd fatal shooting by a law enforcement officer in 2015, with an additional 47 deaths coming after the victim was shocked with an officer's Taser, 33 dying after being struck by an officer's vehicle and 36 killed in custody. It also marked the 183rd death in California, which has the highest total of any state.
Why does a British news outlet appear to have such a thorough record of these kinds of officer-involved deaths? Because despite a rash of high-profile incidents such as the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Samuel DuBose, the Guardian noted that the U.S. government doesn't publish a comprehensive record of people killed by law enforcement.
An analysis of the Guardian's numbers found that the killing rate is 3.1 per day, which has held relatively steady all year, peaking in March at around 4. When The Counted launched on June 1 it found that 102 of the 464 deaths tallied at that point (22%) were of unarmed people, a total that has fallen to 20% since then (198 of 1,000).
According to its figures, at launch, the tally revealed that black Americans were "more than twice as likely to be unarmed as white Americans when killed by police" (32% vs. 15% for white victims.)
At press time that figure had dropped a bit to 26% for black victims and 18% for white ones, while black Americans represented twice as many people killed (5.94 per million) as white ones (2.54 per million). Earlier this year, FBI director James Comey said it was "ridiculous and embarrassing" that the Guardian -- and the Washington Post as part of a separate project -- had better data than the federal government on this topic.
Another independent project with similar goals, KilledbyPolice, has logged at lest 1,044 police-invovled killings since January 1. With six weeks left in the year, that figure has already surprised the site's reported total for 2014 of 1,108.
All images and data used with permission from The Guardian.