Police killings of civilians have become a huge topic of debate, argument, passion and trials, as well as a regular part of the media coverage of American life. The divide over which police killings are justified is often part of the investigation and prosecution of police officers.
The regularity of police shootings has even gained the attention of the widely regarded Gun Violence Archive. It lists 599 “officer-involved incidents” that resulted in death so far this year.
The number of police killings, both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis, varies widely from one state to the next. Massachusetts, for example, has one of the lowest rates of officer-involved fatalities in the nation, while Oklahoma has one of the highest. Interestingly, considering the bad press it gets in this regard, Minnesota ranks in 39th place for most per capita police killings.
To determine the states with the most killings by police departments, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from Mapping Police Violence, a research collaborative that collects data on police killings across the nation from the country’s three largest comprehensive and impartial crowdsourced databases. Data was accessed on May 26, 2021, and includes all police department killings between the beginning of 2013 and May 23 of this year. Police killings per 100,000 were calculated using 2019 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
New Mexico is the state where the most people are killed by police on a per capita basis. Here are more details:
- Police killings per 100,000 people since 2013: 8.16 (total: 171)
- Worst year police killings: 2016
- Worst city for police killings Albuquerque (total: 59)