The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police

gun_copsAmerica's law enforcement officers have shot and killed upwards of 385 people so far this year, according to a new Washington Post investigation. That's a rate of about 1 every 9 hours, or 2.5 shootings per day. That's a lot compared to other countries -- cops in Germany killed only 8 people in 2013-2014, for instance. British police didn't kill anyone last year.

Through June 1, there have been 5,099 gun deaths in the U.S., according to up-to-date numbers maintained by the Gun Violence Archive. Based on the 385 figure, that means that American police are responsible for about 1 in every 13 non-suicide gun deaths in the country, or 8 percent.

Many of these killings are undoubtedly justifiable acts of self-defense. The Post database shows that 317 of the police shooting victims were carrying guns or other weapons at the time of their death. On the other hand, that leaves 62 police shootings where the victim didn't have any weapon at all, and another six where the presence of a victim's weapon is still unknown.

It's also important to note that police shootings are just a subset of all police-involved deaths, which can include deaths by taser or vehicle, or the deaths of suspects in police custody.

A Guardian database of those deaths puts the total police-involved killing number at 464 for the year so far. If that rate holds, it would add up to over 1,100 police-involved killings for the calendar year. That's more than the number of people who die in the U.S. annually from spider bites, snake bites, lightning, dog bites, floods, storms, boating accidents and airplane accidents -- combined.

Check out the Washington Post investigation for more »

Correction: A previous version of this piece incorrectly stated that the Gun Violence Archive data includes deaths by suicide. Their data only counts suicides if they are part of a murder-suicide or a suicide at a police standoff.