While black Americans make up only 13.6% of the U.S. population, they accounted for roughly one-quarter of the almost 1,000 police shooting deaths in 2016, according to data published by the Washington Post.
According to the Post, of the 963 people shot and killed by police in 2016, 233 of the victims — 24% — were black. In comparison, white Americans make up 78% of the population, but only 48% of fatal police shootings in 2016. A recent study found black Americans are 2.5 times more likely than white Americans to be shot and killed by police, echoing the disproportionate number of fatalities at the hands of police between white and black victims.
The ongoing disparity between how black and white suspects are treated by police resulted in increased tensions that came to a head following the 2016 killings of Alton Sterling on July 5 and Philando Castile on July 6. Sterling was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Less than 24 hours later, Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Prompted by these back-to-back shootings, protesters and activists gathered around the country to shed light on police reform. During a peaceful protest in Dallas on July 8, Micah Johnson opened fire on police officers, injuring nine and killing five.
Here are some other notable police shootings from 2016.
Germonta Wallace: The first
Germonta Wallace, 30, was shot and killed by police on Jan. 4, 2016. Wallace was on the run from police after being named a suspect in the killing of Norris Martin, whose body was found in the trunk of a burning car. Wallace had reportedly gotten out of prison a few months prior and was working with a janitorial service.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Wallace died after a lengthy gunfight with eight Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers. His aunt, Deborah Wallace, said to reporters regarding how the fight between her nephew and police started: "I actually don't know how it went down. We don't know who was doing the shooting. We don't know if it was police or who." The officers involved in the shooting did not face charges.
Gerald Hall: The last
Gerald Hall, 29, was fatally shot by police officers on Christmas Day, 2016. Officers claimed Hall was shot after he ignored commands to drop a knife. Hall's mother, who watched body cam footage that would later be released in part to the public, insisted "That video showed nothing about him waving a knife. They shot him dead... Pow, pow, pow after that. That was it... I don't feel like my son deserved [any] of this."
Kevin Donahue, the deputy mayor for public safety in Washington, D.C., where the incident occurred, showed the video footage to reporters in January. According to the Washington Post, after the footage was released, Donahue said, "To me, it's very clear Mr. Hall has a knife. It's very clear it is being held in an aggressive manner. It's very clear that the officer who arrived on scene states in a loud voice three times for that individual to drop the knife."
Tyre King: The youngest
Tyre King, 13, was shot by police after officers had chased him into an alley during a robbery investigation. According to the Los Angeles Times, King fit the description of one of three suspects in a robbery and was running from police. He later pulled a BB gun from his waistband before officer Bryan Mason, who is white, opened fire. The Times reported that Mason hit King "several times" and that King died 30 minutes later at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The Times reported that King was a student at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy. He was the youngest black person shot and killed by police in 2016. The youngest person killed by police in 2016 was Ciara Meyer, 12, who was shot by a stray bullet during an eviction.