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Research shows Chicago, nation have long way to go to reduce police shootings

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More than 1,000 times a year, a police officer somewhere kills a citizen, according to criminologists.

Video Transcript

CHUCK GOUDIE: Alan, there have only been three days this year when someone hasn't been killed by police somewhere in the nation according to the Mapping Police violence database. And although there is no fail safe government record of fatal police involved shootings, tracking projects peg the number of citizens killed by officers nationwide at about 1,100 per year. So far this year at least 319 people have been killed by police in the US.

Baked into this map of police involved shootings and killings is this. Black people make up 28% of those killed by police according to the database even though just 13% of the US population is black. More than 1,000 times a year a police officer somewhere kills a citizen. A decades long research project here at Bowling Green University tonight finds that officers are charged in 1.1% of the cases with most determined to be legally justified. But project director and criminal justice professor Philip Stinson says, there is an important wildcard.

PHILIP STINSON: Many of these instances don't involve any sort of video recordings. There aren't dash cam recordings, there aren't body worn video recordings, there aren't cell phone videos recorded by bystanders. Sometimes you know, there aren't surveillance and security videos either. So in those instances the police own the narrative.

CHUCK GOUDIE: Despite thousands of arrestees dying while in police care since 2005, he found only 143 officers arrested for criminal use of force. And about only half resulting in conviction including yesterday's guilty verdicts against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. The difference in the Floyd case was video.

PHILIP STINSON: I want to be clear. Not all police officers are racist. Obviously that's not the case. But we do see this type of incident occurring with frightening regularity and it seems that we ought to be able to reduce the incidence and prevalence of people being killed by on duty police officers in this country.

CHUCK GOUDIE: Despite a recent police scorecard that ranks Chicago 499th out of 500 US departments in use of force and officer accountability, professor Stinson says Chicago was one of the first places where excessive force data was routinely available. And he notes some other good things happening here. Organizations he says pursuing transparency by obtaining police disciplinary reports as well.