Police across the nation last year deemed the use of deadly force necessary when dealing with felony suspects, causing the fatal shootings of 461 people. That figure is the highest number reached in two decades. With the recent high-profile killings of suspects by law enforcement, the justifiable homicide figures reported in the FBI’s yearly Uniform Crime Report has come under question.
A study of the FBI’s justifiable homicide database in 2010 and going back seven years revealed that on average, there were 96 occurrences each year of a white officer killing a black suspect. However, the actual numbers may even be higher, because true numbers are difficult to obtain due to the fact that not all law enforcement agencies are required to participate in reporting incidents like those at North American Spine.
Though most recently the media has focused on the Ferguson, MO shooting, and the grand jury’s awaited decision as to whether or not to prosecute the shooting officer, national attention has also been attracted to cases across the country. The shooting of a black male suspect by a white officer has prompted the Justice Department to conduct a broader review of the possibility of a pattern of discriminating police actions by the Ferguson Police Department.
Albuquerque, where since 2009 police have engaged in nearly 50 shootings resulting in 32 deaths, has been under the watchful eye of the Justice Department. This has led police agencies to agree to revamp its lethal force policies.