2023 Was One of the Worst Years for Police Violence

“Police in the US killed at least 1,232 people last year, making 2023 the deadliest year for homicides committed by law enforcement in more than a decade…”

The Guardian, January 2024

A non-profit research group called Mapping Police Violence recently released their updated database for 2023. And while the data is imperative and meaningful — it’s also not surprising. We also must remember that this data is based on public and reported records and that there are likely countless victims of police brutality that the state has managed to cover up.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the database:

  • Black people are the demographic most likely to be killed by the police.
  • Black people are 3x as likely to be killed compared to white people.
  • Black people are 1.3x as likely as white people to be unarmed.
  • 95% of America’s major city police departments kill Black people at higher rates than white people.
  • Most killings by police begin with traffic stops, mental health checks, and non-violent offenses — times where no crime was alleged.

It’s crazy that even though we saw record-breaking protests in 2020 to now against police brutality and racial injustice, the numbers show things are getting worse. A global push and a clear call from folks worldwide — but, we’re regressing?

We always hear things like: “He was probably armed.” “She should’ve stayed calm.” “They shouldn’t have run away.” In reality, these are just lame excuses that police have used to claim that they feared their life over.

But let’s be real: None of these reasons could ever justify a police officer taking a person’s life — especially when the majority of these police encounters ending in fatalities lacked any alleged crime.

There is truth in these findings that even the most ridiculous counterarguments could not deny: Racism exists and thrives in policing, and policing is a form of white supremacy.