Protesters march after a fatal shooting by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016. Credit: William Widmer/New York Times/eyevine
Toggle caption Photo by William Widmer/New York Times/eyevine

What the data say about police shootings

This article originally appeared in Nature

How do racial biases play into deadly encounters with the police? Researchers wrestle with incomplete data to reach answers.

On Tuesday 6 August, the police shot and killed a schoolteacher outside his home in Shaler Township, Pennsylvania. He had reportedly pointed a gun at the officers. In Grants Pass, Oregon, that same day, a 39-year-old man was shot and killed after an altercation with police in the state police office. And in Henderson, Nevada, that evening, an officer shot and injured a 15-year-old suspected of robbing a convenience store. The boy reportedly had an object in his hand that the police later confirmed was not a deadly weapon.

In the United States, police officers fatally shoot about three people per day on average, a number that’s close to the yearly totals for other wealthy nations. But data on these deadly encounters have been hard to come by.

Read the whole article in Nature

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