Campaign Zero report finds that 2020 was 2nd deadliest year of police violence

1,127 people were killed by an officer in 2020

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Police killings were the highest they have been in years in 2020.

Campaign Zero released a study on Wednesday that revealed police killings were at an all-time high last year. Researchers discovered that many of the killings came out of non-violent offenses.

2020 was the second deadliest year since they started tracking data in 2013.

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Out of the 1,127 people killed by an officer, 96% of the incidents involved guns, tasers, police vehicles, and excessive force, although many of the victims didn’t commit any crimes.

“The data demonstrates the need for comprehensive solutions to address the persistent and glaring lack of accountability for police violence in America,” said Samuel Sinyangwe, one of the organization’s founders.

“Police have killed more than 1,000 people every year since we began tracking the data – and as the 2020 data shows, hundreds of these deaths occurred during routine or non-threatening encounters.”

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Campaign Zero’s mission is to “encourages policymakers to focus on solutions with the strongest evidence of effectiveness at reducing police violence.” The organization was founded by Black Lives Matter activists, DeRay McKesson, Johnetta Elzie and Samuel Sinyangwe.

Another key finding in the research was that Black people, despite being only 13% of the country’s population, were more likely to be killed. Black people made up 27% of the killings, 36% were unarmed or not perceived to be threatening.

Some of the officers who committed the killings were repeat offenders.

“In 2020, 626 deaths caused by police were traffic stops, responses to mental health crises, or other situations that can and should have been handled differently,” said DeRay McKesson another founder.

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“That’s 626 people that would still be here today if we began to embrace alternatives to policing. It’s time we reimagine a system that for ages has disproportionately harmed communities of color. Mental health, substance abuse treatment, and other community-based investments are necessary components to ensuring we fully address the needs of communities,” he continued.

“Time and time again we’ve seen the police respond to these issues in a manner that escalates the situation, further endangering the public. It’s time we adopt policies that task trained professionals with responding to cases that reflect their expertise.”

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While researching 444 cases, 14 officers had shot or killed someone before. Five had several previous shootings, while only 16 cases resulted in officers being charged with a crime.

“The pandemic and the lockdown did not change this pattern of police violence: more people were killed by police in 2020 than in 2019 and only 16 of these cases resulted in officers being charged with a crime,” said Sinyangwe.

“The police know, and the data confirms, that they can kill people with impunity. As we continue to conduct this research and compile evidence demonstrating the extent of police violence in this country, we must use these and other tools at our disposal to advocate for policies that can change these outcomes.”

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