The number of people killed by police in 2013, according to FBI statistics was 461 — but that number is far lower than the actual total of fatalities caused by police shootings, beatings, and other deadly actions, according to an independent database that compiles news accounts of officer-involved killing from around the nation.
In fact, the number of people killed by police from just May of 2013, when the site KilledByPolice.net began compiling data, to the end of the year was at least 748 — a number that does not include police killings in the first four months of the year, and may not include all people killed by police because it is possible not every news account of a police killing reached the database.
While the FBI has not released the number of police killings in 2014 so far, the database puts the number of people killed by police as of December 10 this year at a staggering 1,029 — three people killed by police every day, on average — with three weeks remaining on the calendar.
That means the stunning total would not include, for example, the killing of 18-year-old Antonio Martin in Berkeley, Missouri, on December 23, or the December 26 killing of a still-unidentified man in Texas City, Texas, early in the morning of December 26.
The Killed By Police database does not make a distinction between the reasons for police killings — that is, whether the victims were armed, unarmed, in the process of committing a crime or not — or the racial and ethnic backgrounds of the victims. The data is simply a raw aggregation of all police killings reported in the media and collected by the database.
Why the drastic disparity between official FBI statistics on police killings and the numbers compiled by the KilledByPolice.com database? The reason is simple — no official statistics exist. No law requires police departments nationwide to keep statistics on the the number of people killed by their officers, and for those that do keep stats, reporting the numbers to the FBI is purely voluntary.
New York City, to cite one prominent example, does not report police killing statistics to the FBI. That means the July 17 chokehold killing of 43-year-old Eric Garner would not be included in the 2014 FBI totals, when those numbers are finally released.
The Inquistr has reported on many of these police killings, including the killings of the individuals depicted in the photo, above.
• Ezell Ford, 25, a "mentally challenged" Los Angeles man shot in August by police as he reportedly lay on the ground, unarmed.
• Samantha Ramsey, 19, shot at point blank range by a Boone County, Kentucky, sheriff's deputy in April as she drove away from an outdoor party.
• Troy Hart, a 27-year-old man with severe mental disabilities who was shot dead by police in Westland, Michigan, after his mom called police to help her bring him to a psychiatric hospital.
• Maria Godinez, 22, killed by a stray bullet that entered a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in August when an officer fired nine times at a man believed to have a gun in the parking lot.
• Allen Locke, 30, killed on December 20 by a police officer in Rapid City, South Dakota, who said Locke attacked him with a knife. Locke had attended a protest against police violence in Rapid City the day before.
• John Crawford III, 22, shot to death by Beavercreek, Ohio, police August 5 in a Walmart store while holding a BB gun, after another customer called 911 and falsely reported that Crawford was threatening customers with an AR-15 rifle.
View the full inventory of people killed by police in 2014 at the KilledByPolice.net site, at this link.