An Observation

[Content Note: Police brutality; descriptions of violence; racism.]

In the last two weeks, there has been a lot (but hardly enough) public discussion of police militarization and extrajudicial killing. One of the things I want to note as part of the ongoing discussion in this space is that not only are black people killed by police at disproportionately high rates, but it also seems as though black people are shot a much higher number of times in these confrontations with police.

Yesterday, Zerlina Maxwell linked to this story about a white man who was shot by police and survived. Note the difference in details between this incident and the killing of Kajieme Powell:
A possibly suicidal man waving what appeared to be a gun was wounded Wednesday in an officer-involved shooting near De Anza Cove, authorities reported.

...Officers tried in vain to persuade the man to drop the weapon and surrender.

...[Local photographer Ed Baier] was one of the first on the scene and one of the only ones to capture every minute of what would turn out to be a standoff that would last for more than an hour. ...The standoff ended when an officer opened fire as the man raised the gun, according to police.

"Like lightning … you see the lightning first, then the thunder. So I saw him go down immediately and then I heard the click the crack of the shot and then that was it," said Baier.

Medics took the suspect to a trauma center. Police say he is serious but stable condition.
One shot. After an hour of negotiating. Versus twelve shots from two officers after seventeen seconds.

Michael Brown was shot six times. Jonathan Ferrell was shot ten times. Tyisha Miller was shot at 23 times, hit with at least 12 bullets, including four in her head.

A few examples of many.

It's not just that black people are shot more often. It certainly seems to be that there's a disparity in the number of shots taken by police against white and black people, too.

And more shots clearly reduces the chances of survival.

Not only do we need to talk about why police are increasingly militarized and increasingly less likely to practice good deescalation techniques; not only do we need to talk about why police kill black people at higher rates; we also need to talk about why it is that when police shoot at black people, they seem to shoot more, to ensure no chance of survival.

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