In 2015-16 1,115 citizens (about three per day) were killed in police shootings in the US. These are shocking figures.
Writing for Lacuna, David Baker explains how he set out to understand the stories behind the statistics of police shootings.
He interviewed the relatives of 43 people killed in police shootings since 2000 across 16 US states.
He found that relatives of the deceased believe police to be increasingly fearful of the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect.
The families claim police are more focused on their own personal safety than that of citizens.
One relative told him: “I tell people – if you love someone and don’t want to lose them don’t call 911.”
David tells the tragic story of Daniel Ficker, a father of two young children, who was killed in a police shooting.
Daniel was shot by officers who should never have been investigating a crime he hadn’t committed. But an investigation cleared the police officers involved and they went back to work.
This was a rare occasion where the family kept fighting for justice. It took nearly six years before they were awarded $2.25 million in a civil suit.
Stories like Daniel’s lead David to conclude: “There is a widespread perception that not only are officers using lethal force in an unaccountable way, but that they’re doing so within a justice system that enables its use.”
Read more about Daniel Ficker and the families David interviewed here.
Main image by Chase Carter.