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Despite Widespread Outcry Over Police Shootings, Nearly 1,000 Americans Killed By Officers in 2017

African-American males accounted for 22 percent of those killed, despite making up only six percent of the U.S. population

Police killings in the U.S. have been the subject of widespread condemnation in recent years, since the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed man, in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo: Marcela/Flickr/cc)

Police officers in the U.S. shot and killed nearly 1,000 American citizens in 2017, according to data gathered by the Washington Post, in a pattern that has remained steady in recent years despite increased national attention and outcry over police shootings.

Police officers killed 987 people last year, up from 963 in 2016, and in line with 2015's number of 995. About 250 of last year's victims were not armed with a knife or gun when they were shot.

The newspaper's numbers were nearly double those reported by the FBI, but the Police Violence Report, which compiles information from three crowd-sourced databases, found an even larger number of Americans killed by police in 2017: 1,129.

African-American males accounted for 22 percent of those killed, despite representing only six percent of the U.S. population. Forty-four percent of those shot were white males, who make up about 31 percent of the population.

In addition to racial dynamics between law enforcement and communities, the treatment of people with mental health disorders by the police has been called into question in recent years. Nearly one in four of the people shot by police in 2017 were described as experiencing "mental distress" when they were killed.

Advocates for those with mental health disorders have pushed for increased training in police departments regarding how to safely respond to and de-escalate situations involving people with substance abuse disorders and mental illness. Only 20 percent of police departments across the country currently have officers with such training.

"We call 911 for other medical emergencies and they bring specially trained medical technicians, but when it's a mental-health crisis, we send the police," Ron Honberg, a senior policy adviser at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told the Post.

According to the Post, 46 police officers were killed by community members or crime suspects last year, down from 66 in 2016.

On social media, activists denounced the continued trend of police killings in the U.S. and the lack of accountability for police officers who shoot unarmed people.

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