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2015 Police Violence Report
Police killed at least 1,152 people in the United States from January 1 – December 15, 2015. Nearly one in four of these people was killed by one of America’s largest 60 city police departments.
- 59 of the nation’s largest 60 city police departments killed civilians in 2015. Some killed at much higher rates than others:
- Bakersfield, Oklahoma City, Oakland, Indianapolis Metropolitan, Long Beach, New Orleans, St. Louis Metropolitan, and San Francisco Police Departments killed people at the highest rates in 2015.
- Rates of police killings differed sharply among police departments. For example, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department killed over seven times more people per capital in 2015 than did Philadelphia Police Department.
- Of the 60 police departments reviewed, only Riverside Police Department did not kill anyone in 2015.
Black people were more likely to be killed by America’s largest city police departments:
- Police departments disproportionately killed Black people, who were 41 percent of victims despite being only 20 percent of the population living in these cities.
- 41 of the 60 police departments disproportionately killed Black people relative to the population of Black people in their jurisdiction.
- 14 police departments killed Black people exclusively in 2015, 100 percent of the people they killed were Black. For only five police departments were 100 percent of those killed white.
Community violence did not make it any more or less likely for police to kill people
- While some have blamed violent crime for being responsible for police violence in some communities, data shows that high levels of violent crime in cities did not appear to make it any more or less likely for police departments to kill people.
- Over the past several years, police departments in high-crime cities such as Detroit and Newark have consistently killed fewer people per population than police departments in cities with much lower crime rates such as Austin, Bakersfield, and Long Beach.
- Rather than being determined by crime rates, police violence reflects a lack of accountability in the culture, policies, and practices of the institutions of policing, as investigations into some of the most violent police departments in America have shown. Campaign Zero, among other initiatives, seeks to directly address the policies and practices that contribute to police violence.
*Source data used to generate the reports above are limited to incidents recorded between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 15, 2015