23 December 2016

Arrests Are Often Deadly

Official statistics have in the past put justifiable homicides at the hands of law enforcement in the hundreds. But, a lot more people die when being arrested:
An estimated 1,900 people died while being arrested by police in America in 2015, according to new figures from the federal government. The deaths include both those who died directly as a result of police use of force and those who died while being restrained by police, by suffering a heart attack for example. 
Sixty-four percent of the deaths were homicides, including justified homicide by a law enforcement officer. Eighteen percent were suicides, 11 percent were accidents, and less than 2 percent were natural. The rest of the deaths were undetermined, unknown, or subject to an incomplete investigation. While past reports issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics addressed the demographics of those who died during arrest, the report published last week did not include such a breakdown. 
The numbers are the first to be published since the Bureau of Justice Statistics overhauled its arrest-related death-counting methods in 2015. The data now better aligns with newspapers’ and activists’ estimates, which historically were much higher than the federal government’s, FiveThirtyEight reports. And it helps to fill a long-growing desire among activists and officials for better government data on police use of force in general.
There were about 10,800,000 arrests in 2015.  There were about 19 deaths per 100,000 people arrested in 2015.

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