According to data gathered by the Washington Post, the number of fatal police shootings of unarmed people in the United States is on track to decrease significantly this year and is on pace to be the lowest in the four years since the Post began tracking it.
As of May 1, there have been 18 people in the U.S. who have been killed by the police while they were not in possession of anything that could be used as a weapon.
When comparing this year to year’s prior, the decline is clear and relatively linear. From Jan. 1-May 1, 2015, 39 unarmed people were killed, and that number fell to 22 by that point in 2016. It went up to 26 last year, though.
In total, 2015 was a horrific year — there were 94 deaths of unarmed people by police officials. That number dropped significantly in 2016 to 51 and then rose again last year to 68.
As of this point in each of the previous three years, they have averaged approximately 40 percent of the deaths for the year. Therefore, if there have been 18 deaths so far this year, and we use that 40 percent mark as an indicator to predict how the rest of the year will play out, it suggests approximately 45 unarmed people will be killed in 2018.
The WaPo also broke down the demographics of those who are unarmed and killed by the police. So far this year, of the 18 killed who meet this criteria, 10 were white, seven were black and one was Hispanic. Black people make up approximately 13 percent of the country, whereas white people account for approximately 60 percent of the population.
One of the high-profile police killings this year was of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, California, who was shot at 20 times. His slaying led to protests throughout the city of Sacramento.
The Post began collecting this data during 2015 after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which led to widespread protests.