Official death certificates in the U.S. failed to count more than half of the people killed by police in 2015 — and the problem of undercounting is especially pronounced in lower-income counties and for deaths that are due to Tasers, according to a study published Oct. 10 in PLoS Medicine.
In contrast, a database from the London-based Guardian newspaper captured a large majority of these deaths, the study found.
The study, published by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and USC Program on Global Health & Human Rights researchers, is the first to measure undercounting of police-related deaths in nationwide death certificate data and in a news media-based database and provides the most accurate count to date of the number of people killed by police in the U.S.
News coverage highlights:
- PRESS RELEASE: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: More than half of police killings not officially documented on U.S. death certificates
- The Guardian: US police killings undercounted by half, study using Guardian data finds
- Newsweek: Half of police killings aren’t documented, and many of the dead are black, young
- Pacific Standard: How many people are really killed by the police in the United States?
- Reuters: U.S. government undercounted civilians killed by police
- Salon: Study: American police killings have been drastically underestimated
Authors: Justin M. Feldman, Sofia Gruskin, Brent A. Coull, Nancy Krieger
Published By: PLoS Medicine
Date: Oct. 10, 2017
Publication Link: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002399