Nearly 250 Women Have Been Killed By Police Since 2015, Report Finds
While news outlets often focus on the killings of Black men, police have killed at least 48 Black women since 2015.
September 04, 2020 at 9:51 pm
The Washington Post released a groundbreaking study of police shootings since 2015, finding that nearly 250 women have been shot and killed by officers over the five-year time span.
Since the shooting of Michael Brown, the newspaper has been tracking every police shooting in the United States, finding that officers generally shoot and kill about 1,000 people each year.
Of the 247 women who have been shot fatally by police since 2015, 89 of them were killed in their homes like Breonna Taylor, whose killing has sparked ongoing global protests and outrage.
While the 247 women killed by police represent a small portion of the more than 5,600 people killed by police since 2015, Black women are severely overrepresented in the total.
According to The Washington Post's count, 48 Black women have been shot and killed by police. Black women are 13% of the female population in the United States but represent 20% of the women shot fatally by police and 28% of the killings deemed by police to be unarmed.
The focus of police shootings has been exclusively on Black men, but Black women are shot fatally at rates significantly higher than women of other races.
While 1,274 Black men have been shot and killed by police since January 2015, the numbers are proportionately high for Black women when compared to white women.
The data shows that of the 247 police shootings of women, 147 were white, 48 Black, 29 Hispanic, five were Native American, four were Asian and three were other races. Eleven other cases involved people whose race could not be determined. However, based on percentages, Black women are killed at a rate of 2.3 per million while white women are killed by police at a rate of 1.5 per million and Hispanic women are killed at 1 per million.
One of the key tragedies noted by The Washington Post is that some of the reported cases involved Black women who were not the primary target or they are killed accidentally from being caught in the crossfire of a gun battle.
Andrea Ritchie, researcher-in-residence at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, told The Washington Post that police will use deadly force on Black women because they perceive them as not being as deferential or submissive as white women.
“There’s definitely a long history of framing women who aren’t compliant as insane. I think that’s particularly true for Black women,” Ritchie said.
Here are some of the cases highlighted by The Washington Post: