REPORT: The Vast Majority Of People Killed By Police In 2017 Were Armed

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

Police killed 987 people in 2017 and only 68 of them were unarmed, according to a Friday report from The Washington Post.

The report follows years of protests against police for allegedly misusing deadly force since the 2014 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Black males accounted for 19 of the 68 unarmed deaths, a figure that has nearly been cut in half since the 2015 total of 36. White males accounted for the largest number of armed people who were killed at 330, and 160 armed black males were killed.

“The numbers indicate that this is not a trend, but a robust measure of these shootings,” Geoff Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina told the Post. “We now have information on almost 3,000 shootings, and we can start looking to provide the public with a better understanding of fatal officer-involved shootings.”

The Post gathered data on officer-involved shootings in the U.S. since 2015, using police and media reports to verify authenticity. The paper has logged 2,945 shootings since the program began. The 987 total in 2017 mirrors the 2016 total of 963, and the number of those killed while armed with guns or knives, 735, remained virtually identical to the 2016 total of 734.

Nearly 25 percent of those killed were also said to be suffering from some sort of mental instability at the time of their deaths, according to the report, but nearly 90 percent of them were armed with weapons varying from firearms to a pitch fork.

The youngest person to be killed was 14-year-old Jason Pero from the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa. Pero called police in November to report a man with a knife, but gave a description of himself. When police arrived, Pero – holding a knife – charged them and was shot and killed. (RELATED: FBI Data: Almost 20 Percent Of 2016 Hate Crimes Were ‘Anti-White’)

The oldest person to be willed was 91-year-old Frank Wratny of Pennsylvania in March. Wratny was killed by a police officer responding to a neighbor’s 911 call claiming Wratny had fired a gun at her. Wratny was armed and approaching police when they shot him.


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