Number of cops charged in fatal shootings is up; is it a trend?
A dozen police officers have been charged so far this year with murder or manslaughter as a result of fatal shootings, an increase from prior years.
Criminology professor Philip Stinson of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University determined the number of officers charged from court records and media reports, Reuters reports. His research, for the U.S. Justice Department, does not include the six Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died from a spinal injury after being transported in a police van.
From 2005 to 2014, only about five police officers were charged with manslaughter or murder each year, Stinson found. Only 11 of 47 officers charged in that time period were convicted.
It’s too soon to determine whether the increase in prosecutions reflects a permanent change, Stinson told Reuters. “We can tell for one year, but is that just an anomaly or is it a trend?” he said.
The number of prosecutions is still small compared to the number of fatal police shootings by police officers. The Washington Post found there have been nearly 800 police shootings this year.