The Washington Post has been tracking police shootings in America since the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014. The Post notes that the tally of fatal police shootings on June 16 this year was identical to the June 2016 count. “These numbers show us that officer-involved shootings are constant over time,” Geoffrey Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina, told the Post. “Some places go up, some go down, but it’s averaging out. This is our society in the 21st century.” The ongoing project has documented twice as many shootings by police in 2015 and 2016 as ever recorded in a single year by the FBI’s tracking of such shootings. And the pattern appears to be continuing. The project has found that police officers most often shot and killed white males armed with guns or other types of weapons. In 2017, one out of every four people killed by police were mentally ill, and in a continuing trend, a disproportionately large number of the shootings were black males. Black males accounted for nearly 25 percent of all the police shooting victims.
Press TV points out that numerous studies have shown that in the U.S., African-Americans are more likely to be shot, arrested and imprisoned than any other racial group. The Seattle Times made a very sobering observation on June 22 when they reported on the death of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police officers. The Times noted that in the U.S., mental health care, along with universal health care and drug treatment is at best, spotty, and at worst, non-existent to many segments of our society. And regardless of what we would like to believe, we live in a violent world in this country. We resort to violence more than any other economically developed country in the world, and it looks like this is the path we have chosen, and that is very worrisome and sad.