Police shootings have not decreased during pandemic: ACLU report

    As of June 30, law enforcement officers have fatally shot 511 people.


    Fatal police shootings have not stopped or slowed down amid COVID-19 and people following social distancing mandates across the nation. 

    Despite Americans spending much of 2020 inside their homes to avoid contracting the potentially deadly contagion, as of June 30, law enforcement officers have fatally shot 511 people, according to the ACLU

    “The findings of this report show that police violence in our country is not situational, but rather endemic to our country’s policing institution. Despite a once in a lifetime public health crisis that has upended societal norms and caused a decrease in physical interaction, police still manage to kill people at the same rate as before the outbreak of COVID-19,” Paige Fernandez, policing policy adviser at the ACLU, said in a release, The Hill reports. 

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    The report comes as social justice advocates continue to call for police reform and divesting funds from police departments across the nation, and reallocating them to public safety initiatives, social services and youth services. 

    Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service, theGrio reported. The suit alleges that federal officers targeted medics with tear gas, rubber bullets, and unlawful arrests as they worked to serve peaceful protesters in Portland, according to The Hill

    One of the plaintiffs, Michael Martinez, said in a statement: “I filed this lawsuit because many people in this country, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, will never have their day in court,” he said. “I feel it’s all the more important to use whatever resources and power I have to confront this abhorrent system, which allows people in America, primarily Black people, to be beaten and killed by police without consequence.” 

    The latest report from the ACLU noted that police shootings are “so routine that even during a national pandemic, with far fewer people traveling outside of their homes and police departments reducing contact with the public so as not to spread the virus, police have continued to fatally shoot people at the same rate so far in 2020 as they did in the same period from 2015 to 2019,” according to the report, which examined only fatal on-duty shootings, per NBC News

    The data analysis comes from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

    Read More: ACLU files lawsuit against the feds and Portland police over protest attacks

    “We thought maybe police would slow down their killing of people during the pandemic,” Udi Ofer, the director of the ACLU’s Justice Division, said. “We were wrong.”

    “In order to address the tide of police violence that continues in Black and Brown communities despite a global pandemic, we must transform policing in this country by dramatically reducing police departments’ role, responsibilities, power, and funding,” Fernandez said. “Only then can we truly eliminate unnecessary interactions between the police and community members, thereby reducing violence and deaths.”

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