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Shooting of the Unarmed Black People


The research paper is based on studying the problem of the black people being shot by the police officers. The issue can transform into a great conflict leading to negative consequences. Specialists began to study the problem more thoroughly and identified the main reason for the increased number of black people executions by the police officers. It is important to continue the investigation of the problem and launch the reform which will reduce the number of killed African-Americans.

Shooting of the Unarmed Black People

According to the Guardian survey, the majority of the shot black people in the USA were unarmed, that is 102 out of 464 killed did not have weapon, among them 32 percent were black people (“Why do US police,” 2015). Among 464 killed people, 95% were male and 5% female (“Why do US police,” 2015). The statistics represented in the observer magazine included deaths caused by the police cars, controversies in the police custody, and deaths because of the shootings.

The analysis performed by the Guardian showed that Oklahoma has the highest rate of the fatal incidents per person in 2015 (“Why do US police,” 2015). It was also reported that the Los Angeles police department was involved in the biggest number of deaths comparing to any other department. According the provided statistics, the average age of the black people killed by the police was 37 years old. The interviewing of the relatives showed their unawareness of the fact that police could be involved in such fatalities. Lack of public information is the main reason of people’s ignorance about a possible thread from the officers of the law.

Analysis of the Difference between the Statistic and Real Data

Specialist who examined the statistic data referring to the killings of black people insists that it should be changed by including more detailed information about all shootings done by the police officers. According to the investigation, policemen killed much more Afro-Americans than the department reported. Besides, the number of murdered young black people is bigger than that of the young whites (Howard, 2014). Despite the so many killings, the nation does not have a thoroughly elaborated database of police shootings with the information necessary for implementing the police reforms. David Klinger, a former police and current criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, asserts that all three sources of information, namely, the FBI Supplemental Homicide Report, the Centers for Disease Control and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, are not perfect (Freivogel, 2014). The local jurisdictions require to report only about fatal shootings done by the police.

The Wall Street Journal represented the shortcomings of the FBI statistics and noticed that the latest information received from the 105 largest police agencies indicated that more than 550 police killings during 2007-2012 were excluded from the national tally. Consequently, as the calculations showed, 1825 shootings in 105 departments, which is 47 percent more that was represented by the FBI statistic (Freivogel, 2014). The NAACP Legal Defense Fund put on the high level the elaboration of the reform concerning the improvement of the national database of police shootings. Klinger is now efficiently working with Police Foundation in Washington on establishing a new national database. He and other researchers examined all 231 police shootings in the City of St. Louis from 2003 to 2012 and discovered that 30 of 37 killed civilians were black people. Thus, 82 percent of the shot by the police officers were African-Americans in a city, which counts 50 percent of black people (Howard, 2014). Klinger has conducted his investigation taking into consideration the obtained descriptive information from the police files with the aim to identify how the killings were related to the factors such as race and poverty. The professor determined that the level of firearms violence in the area where the executions occurred was a single factor which caused them. However, it is also important to notice that in places with the high firearms violence the majority of population is Afro-American.

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Discussion of the Main Reasons of the Civilians’ Shooting

The USA people repeatedly faced the problem of black people being shot by police officers. Scholars who investigated the problem consider that the main reason for such incidents is the training of domestic soldiers rather than peacekeeping officers. The war against the drugs functioned for a long time as a full-employed act for armed dealers, and it reached such scopes that officers began to use weapon to fight with it. Thus, today policemen have the right to use automatic rifles, planes, helicopters and have practice in military-style boot camp training. ACLU issued a report referring to the impressive number of arsenals in possession of the police departments (Howard, 2014). Free access to the weapon and body armor moulds a conviction in the police officers’ minds that their job is not only to maintain peace, but also to exterminate danger. In spite of protecting surrounding people, many of them start to kill them. Consequently, the officers who act as soldiers subconsciously regard neighborhoods they patrol as battlefields and population as the enemies.

There are many examples when police officers kill black people without any grounded reasons. After the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old black man Michael Brown more than hundred protesters congregated in Ferguson.. In a response, the police met people with rifles, shields, and dogs. The rioters said, ”Do not shoot, we are unarmed” (Freivogel, 2014). However, when the protest became violent because of rioters’ breaking into the building and setting the storefronts on fire, the police officers began to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets. This attack was senseless and severe. On Monday, rioters again marched in the non-violent protest and held their hands high showing that they did not have weapon. Nevertheless, the police blocked the main street and again shot tear gas. The situation looked like a war, and it was hard to accept that the main aim of the officers was to protect but not to destroy.

The other significant reason for the unarmed black people shootings by the police officers is a racial bias. Group of the specialists headed by the Dr. Joshua Corell decided to make an experiment, which concerned the racial prejudice of the police officers. The essence of the research was to interview them. The results showed that approximately 20% of the interviewed are not free of the racial bias (Correll, Park, Judd & Wittenbrink, 2007). According to the analysis, the highest racial biases have the police officers who serve in the high-crime and urban districts. The investigation helped specialists to make a conclusion that officers of the law need special trainings, which let them participate in the real-life complex encounters with the aim to exterminate racial stereotypes. Experts consider that this will help the policemen improve their skills and make right and considered choice when deciding whether to open fire or not.

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The investigation of specialists which studied the problem of shooting the African-Americans by the police officers showed that one of the root problems of increased number of executions is training officers as soldiers who lack experience in aggression deterring. Subconscious acceptance of African-Americans as violent people triggers the policemen to react inadequately because of the fear to be injured or killed. The government should pay more attention to providing appropriate psychological instruction for future police officers as well as launching reforms that will help to elaborate an efficient plan for collecting and monitoring the realistic data about shootings. The law about punishment of the police officers who shot the unarmed people should be put into execution. Policemen will stop killing the unarmed black people only when they are aware of the punishment waiting for them.