George Floyd’s Murder Does Not Change Police Death Statistics | International

Police take cover from protesters after an officer shoots and killed a black man at the Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.KEREM YUCEL (AFP)

If one of the news in 2020 in the United States was the murder of George Floyd, one of the news in 2021 was the sentencing to 22 and a half years in prison of the former agent responsible for the death of the Afro-American. Yet neither the biggest racial protests in half a century nor legislative protests in major cities have succeeded in changing the violent scenario: the number of homicides perpetrated by police has remained practically the same (around 1,100 per an) and racial disparities persist: The chances of a black man being killed by the police are almost three times that of a white man, according to Mapping Police Violence.

This week, in the same Minneapolis courtroom where ex-agent Derek Chauvin heard his conviction for the murder of Floyd, ex-agent Kim Potter was convicted of the murder of a 20-year-old African American. . Potter mistakenly drew his gun instead of his stun gun during a police check in which he shot and killed Daunte Wright. The sentence will be known in February. Both media cases may contribute to the idea that the justice the streets craved so much in the summer of 2020 has reached the justice system, but the full photograph reflects a different reality, closer to that before the death of Floyd.

Since Floyd’s death, 1,646 people have been killed by police. It is impossible to know if all these shootings were justified because in most cases the agent responsible does not appear in court despite the demands of the family of the deceased. Factors such as the lack of witnesses at the scene and the unrestrained support of police unions make court processes difficult. What’s more, experts say the benefit of the doubt is usually given to officers who have to make life-and-death decisions in an instant.

President Joe Biden had pledged to reform to increase police accountability and tackle racial prejudice. The George Floyd bill was passed in March in the House of Representatives, but it was not passed in the Senate, where Democrats needed 60 votes to pass it, and they only have 50 of the 100 seats. Thus, the law which aimed to take stock of police faults or to prohibit certain techniques of arrest, broke down after the failure of negotiations with the Republicans. Restrictions on the lethal use of force and the end of “qualified immunity”, which protects officers from civil liability in court, were some of the stopping stones.

Over the past 15 years, 139 police officers have been arrested for murder or manslaughter as a result of an on-duty shooting, according to an investigation by Bowling Green State University criminal law professor Philip M. Stinson. Last year, 16 police officers were charged with manslaughter, the highest number since Stinson began compiling data, showing the average annual number of police fatalities is over 1,000 per year.

Since Stinson did his research, Chauvin became the second officer to be found behind bars for a felony during a police action in Minneapolis, and Potter the first female police officer convicted of murder. Considering that every year around 1,000 fatal shootings by police are reported, the arrest rate does not exceed 2%.

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