How police brutality is tied to America's gun culture
Researchers say discussing the role of guns in America is crucial to conversations about police brutality and racial inequality.LEARN MORE
Data from two sources show record numbers of people died by the hands of police, and Black people were much more likely to be killed.
Despite historic widespread protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder, last year saw the most deaths at the hands of police since at least 2015.
MappingPoliceViolence.org, a non-profit database, says police killed more than 1,200 people in 2022. According to the Washington Post, which only tracks police shootings, officers shot and killed nearly 1,100 people — also a record.
"It is Groundhog Day; it is a bad dream on a looped cycle," said Mike McBride, executive director of Live Free. "But we must take it seriously, and when these moments present themselves, we must lean in fully."
McBride is also a Bay Area activist and pastor.
"The beating and the killing on camera of Tyre Nichols has once again shocked the nation," McBride said. "It is really unfortunate that this nation needs to continuously have its conscience shocked into pausing to wrestle with the daily violence that visits Black people."
In 2022, Black people were nearly three times as likely to be killed by police than white people, while minorities as a whole made up two-thirds of those killed. More than half of the deaths (682) stemmed from "a suspected nonviolent offense" or a traffic violation.
In Michigan, Patrick Lyoya was shot in the head after he was pulled over for a mismatched license plate and had a struggle with the officer.
In Ohio, after fleeing a routine traffic stop first in his car and then on foot, Jaylen Walker was shot 60 times by eight officers.
McBride says these kinds of killings can be avoided by removing police from some of these situations.
"Removing traffic stops and vehicle kind of violations from the law enforcement community, meaning they don't have to show up with their armed weapons in order to issue a ticket or travel violation," McBride said.
Sheldon Smith is the president of the National Black Police Association - Dallas Chapter. He says reform needs to continue and that it's a longstanding part of policing.
As police shootings rose across the country, homicides took a slight downturn from their recent record highs.
According to the Council on Criminal Justice the number of homicides in 35 American cities declined by 4% between 2021 and 2022. But the author of the report says for that number to continue moving in the right direction, community trust in law enforcement must increase.
"Trust in the police matters when it comes to cooperating with the police, reporting crimes to the police and contacting the police when a problem arises," said Richard Rosenfeld, criminologist at the University of Missouri St. Louis. "That has to be centermost in communities priorities to improve justice, but also to reduce crime.
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The San Jose Police Department said it has zero tolerance for racial bias and is also investigating an employee on the receiving end of the messages.
This is the first time one of the officers involved is facing criminal charges specifically related to Taylor’s death.
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