While the numbers have crept up, the circumstances that precede the killings have remained consistent.
In 2022, 132 killings (11%) were cases in which no offense was alleged; 104 cases (9%) were mental health or welfare checks; 98 (8%) involved traffic violations; and 207 (18%) involved other allegations of nonviolent offenses. There were also 93 cases (8%) involving claims of a domestic disturbance and 128 (11%) where the person was allegedly seen with a weapon. Only 370 (31%) involved a potentially more serious situation, with an alleged violent crime.
"These are routine police encounters that escalate to a killing," said Samuel Sinyangwe, a data scientist and policy analyst who founded Mapping Police Violence and provided 2022 data to the Guardian. "The reduction in the conversation around police violence does not mean that this issue is going away. What's clear is that it's continuing to get worse, and that it's deeply systemic."
What's more, in 32% of cases last year, the person was fleeing before they were killed, generally running or driving off -- cases in which experts say lethal force is unwarranted and also endangers the public.
US law enforcement killed at least 1,176 people in 2022, making it the deadliest year on record for police violence.