Police

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POLICE CUSTODY

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Each figure represents a person who died in custody. Roll over the figures to learn more about these deaths.

YEAR OF DEATH

Deaths reported by law enforcement agencies increased by 84% from 2005 to 2015 (from 83 to 153) and more than doubled since 2006, the year with the fewest reported deaths (74). This increase is largely due to increases in deaths by suicide, justifiable homicide, other homicide and “other.” Deaths by “other” went from zero reported in 2005 to 29 reported in 2015; these deaths fall into three categories: 1) officer-involved shootings (12); 2) a person becoming unresponsive after being handcuffed (10); and 3) a person becoming unresponsive after being tased (7).

RACE/ETHNICITY

While Latinos/as represented 27% of deaths in jail or prison custody, they represented 33% of deaths in police interactions. We saw the reverse for white people, who represented 42% of deaths in jail or prison custody, but 38% of deaths in police interactions. Black people represented approximately 30% of deaths across custody types.

CAUSE OF DEATH

The custodial death report does not have a cause of death specific to shootings by law enforcement, but most deaths caused by police shooting were marked as “justifiable homicide.” Still others were marked as “other homicide” or just “other.” Justifiable homicide was the most common cause of death in police encounters, having caused 50% of all such deaths.

AGE

People who died in police custody or in police interactions were younger than people who died in prisons and jails, and black and Latino/a people were younger than white people who died in police interactions. The median age of a white person who died in an encounter with police was 38, 31 for black people and 30 for Latino/a people.

CHARGE STATUS

Close to 90% of people who died in encounters with police were not charged with a crime.

TABLE OF CASES

Name Date of death Gender Age Race Cause of death Official Summary