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Halfway through the year, police are on pace to kill more people in the U.S. this year than they did in 2021.
Six months into the new year and police have killed 568 people as of June 24, according to the database mappingpoliceviolence.us. During that same time frame in 2021, police killed 563 people.
Ever since the nationwide protests in the summer of 2020, there has been a steady call by some to “defund the police”. The phrase was all over the news, at protests, even used by politicians in favor of and those against the term. President Joe Biden even shared his opinion during his 2020 campaign saying “no, I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police.”
After a short period of some budgets seeing money temporarily reallocated to different programs, on average, police budgets were expanded in 2021, some to record highs.
Many police departments are operating with their largest budget ever, and oftentimes the message behind requesting more money is to combat crime. Yet police have killed more people year after year in each of the last four years.
Black People Killed Disproportionately Higher Than White People
Despite making up roughly 13% of the population, Black people accounted for 28% of those killed by police in 2021. In 48 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., police killed Black people at higher rates than white people.
Most killings by police begin with traffic stops, mental health checks, or other non-violent offenses. Only roughly 1 in 3 killings begin with an alleged violent crime.
Cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Portland have all implemented foot pursuit policies to help decrease escalation of interactions that often lead to shootings.
Chicago recently passed a new policy a year after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 21-year-old Anthony Alvarez barring officers from chasing people on foot for running away or committing minor offenses.
“The safety of our community members and our officers remain at the core of this new foot pursuit policy,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said in the statement. “We collaborated internally with our officers and externally with our residents to develop a policy we all have a stake in.”
The new policy states that officers only may chase if they believe a person is committing or is about to commit a felony, a Class A misdemeanor such as domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense that could risk injury to others, such as drunk driving or street racing.
In all of the 1,134 people killed by police in 2021, officers were charged with a crime in only 11 cases.
Estimated federal, state, and local spending on law enforcement/corrections in 2021 was $277 billion. That breaks down to $759 million per day spent across the country on law enforcement/corrections.