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  • Fatal shootings by police surpass 2015’s rate

    The Washington Post - 07/07/2016

    As the use of deadly force by police once again roils the nation, the number of fatal shootings by officers has increased from 465 in the first six months of last year to 491 for the same period this year, according to an ongoing two-year study by The Washington Post. This year has also seen more officers shot and killed in the line of duty and more officers prosecuted for questionable shootings.

    Two years after a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., the pace of fatal shootings has risen slightly while the grim encounters are increasingly being captured on video and stoking outrage.

    There will be a “lag time” before there is a measurable drop in deaths, even among the departments that are earnestly embracing reforms, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.

    Fox, the criminologist from Northeastern University, said he is not surprised that the rise of video has so far had no impact on the number of fatal shootings. He thinks cameras may affect police behavior in “routine, calmer situations,” such as during interactions with motorists who are complying with traffic stops, but not in more intense encounters.

    “Once an officer feels they are in danger, or their emotions get elevated, then video is not paramount in their mind,” Fox said. “Then, they would tend to act more instinctively than deliberately.”

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