Ever since the government’s official numbers regarding fatal police shootings were shown to be inaccurate, alternative means of tracking police killings have been necessary in order to fully understand what can only be described as an epidemic of police violence. The most notable of these efforts is the Guardian’s “The Counted” project, which seeks to offer an interactive, comprehensive database of killings carried out by US police. The database allows users to see the breakdown of US police killings based on the victim’s race, gender, age, and whether they were armed as well as filters for geographical location. The statistics themselves offer a harrowing picture of police violence in the US, but it’s not the picture that many expected.
As of today, 801 people have been killed by US police in the first 9 months of 2016, averaging about 22 people every week. In comparison, 878 people had been killed by US police by this time last year, marking a slight decrease in police-related homicides since 2015. The states with the most killings so far have been California, Texas, and Florida, which together accounted for 237 of 2016 police homicides. However, New Mexico, Alaska, and the District of Columbia topped counts of police killings per capita. 126 of the victims this year have been unarmed and 35 of them were Black men.