Washington Post’s lethal force database, established in 2015, shows that every year, approximately one thousand people in the United States are shot and killed by law enforcement and that the number of black people shot and killed by the police is double than the number of white people.
Following the death of African American George Floyd last year, 181 black people were killed by the police in the United States, according to data from research group Mapping Police Violence.
Out of the 966 police killings reported since 25 May 2020, black people account for 18.7%, despite representing 13% of the US population, according to the Census Bureau.
Police killings of white victims accounted for 37% of all deaths even though the white population in the United States makes up to 76.3%, according to the Census Bureau.
One year after Floyd’s murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police, law enforcement brutality and discrimination today in the United States is likely to get worse.
The violent death of 46-year-old Floyd in May had a strong national and international impact following the release of a video showing police office Derek Chauvin pinning him down with a knee to the neck for almost 10 minutes, while Floyd kept repeating that he couldn’t breathe.
More than 500,000 Minneapolis citizens marched through the streets on the anniversary, as part of a tribute that featured speakers including family members of Floyd and other victims of police brutality and racism, such as Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery.
Reverend Al Sharpton, a veteran activist for civil rights, told people gathered there that Floyd’s murder was “one of the greatest disgraces in the history of the United States”.
In this regard, Democratic lawmakers are insisting, with little success, on passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act bill that is stalled in Congress and that, according to President Joe Biden’s plans, was due to be passed on 25 May.
However, White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the day before that the president and his advisers are relatively optimistic about the possibility that the initiative will move forward.
Of the private audience between President Joe Biden and Floyd’s family, The Washington Post noted that behind that meeting was the president’s broken promise because the police reform is stalled.
“While I think that meeting with Floyd’s family is a nice gesture, it’s not really the change we need”, said Bernice Lauredan, organiser with the Tampa Dream Defenders, a group aimed at ending illegal actions by law enforcement following the 2012 murder of African American Trayvon Martin.
“We need major changes in the way we look at public safety in those cities”, the activist told the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, a recent poll by Associated Press and consultancy firm NORC found that six out of 10 Americans believe that racism in their country is an extremely serious problem.
According to the poll, about half of Americans, including approximately six in every 10 African Americans, believe that Chauvin’s recent conviction for Floyd’s murder in May 2020 didn’t change their level of trust in the criminal justice system.
Another survey by channel ABC and The Washington Post showed that 60% of participants said that the government should do more against police abuse of black people. (PL)