Racism with a Badge: Report on Shootings by Cops

There is a new report from ColorLines and The Chicago Reporter who conducted a joint national investigation of fatal police shootings in America’s 10 largest (more than 1 million) cities. Two significant points emerge from the report:

African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated.

And, second:

Latinos are a rising number of fatal police shooting victims. Starting in 2001, the number of incidents in which Latinos were killed by police in cities with more than 250,000 people rose four consecutive years, from 19 in 2001 to 26 in 2005. The problem was exceptionally acute in Phoenix, which had the highest number of Latinos killed in the country.

The report points to the “implicit bias” of police toward Black and Latino people, and notes that this can be overcome with a combination of accountability and training, as in D.C. :

Washington, D.C., which had the nation’s highest rate of police shootings during the 1990s, has cut the rate of shootings dramatically through a combination of training and accountability. Others point to a small but growing number of police departments like Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. that are looking not so much at whether the shootings are justified or not, but about the decisions police and supervisors took that led up to the shootings.

Still, the fact is, the mere fact of being Black or Latino in most large cities in the U.S., such as here in New York, means being ontologically vulnerable to being shot by police.


  1. James T. Smith

    It’s no suprise blacks and Latinos are “overrepresented” in police shootings in large cities because blacks and Latinos are “overrepresented” among criminals in large cities.

  2. Rosalind

    But this overreprensentation of criminality has to do with racial profiling, racist history, and racist conditions for people of color. Actually the majority of the total arrests are whites, by the way, then by that reasoning people of color should not be being shot more often.

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