One in three people killed by US police tried to flee

One in three people killed by US police tried to flee

Since 2015, US police have killed more than 2,500 people attempting to escape, a number that represents nearly 30% of all deaths attributed to officers, according to an article published by The Guardian this Saturday.

According to the organization Mapping Police Violence, one in three killed by US police officers were fleeing or trying to flee when deadly force was used against them. Some of the victims were shot in the back while escaping, others were fleeing car occupants.

So far this year, police have killed about 681 people, of whom 202 escaped. In 2021, that number reached 368 (32% of all victims), while in 2020 it was 380 (33%). African Americans are the hardest-hit group, accounting for 32% of the deaths, despite making up just 13% of the US population.

High impunity

Despite pressure from civil society, as explained by the Black Lives Matter movement, officers are unlikely to be held accountable for civilian deaths. Of the 2,500 people killed trying to escape since 2015, only 50 or 2% have been prosecuted.

In the few cases in which charges are filed, the trial usually lasts several years and ends in favor of the accused, either with the judges or prosecutors themselves dismissing the charges or with the jury’s acquittal.

Likewise, the data shows that only nine cases ended in convictions for the officers involved, a number that accounts for just 0.35% of the cases. However, the conviction and sentence were much lighter than typical murders.

Experts say these numbers make it clear that the US legal system allows officers to kill with impunity and show that efforts to reform protocols and laws have failed to address fundamental deficiencies in police departments.

“In 2014 and 2015, at the start of this national conversation about racism in policing, the idea was, ‘There are bad apples in police departments, [pero] This data shows that this is much bigger than any single officer,” said Samuel Sinyangwe, Founder of Mapping Police Violence.