Fact Sheet on Police Murders of Black people

Every 28 hours, a black person is killed by law enforcement, security guards or vigilantes, according to a report from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.1

In the month after Garner’s death, police across America killed 59 more people.

“While African-Americans constitute 13.1% of the nation’s population, they make up nearly 40% of the prison population.2 Even though African-Americans use or sell drugs about the same rate as whites, they are 2.8 to 5.5 times more likely to be arrested 3 for drugs than whites. Black offenders also receive 4 longer sentences compared to whites. Most offenders are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses” (as cited by Adam Hudson, AlterNet).5

In Oakland, Black people are 28% of the total population but comprise 62% of those stopped by the Oakland Police Department during an eight-month period last year.6

Of 78 confirmed killings by the Oakland Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and BART Police since 1970, 74% of the victims were Black people and 99% were people of color.7

OPD has long been one of the most controversial urban law enforcement agencies in America, with a history of high-profile criminal and brutality allegations. For over a decade, starting in 2003, the OPD has been under federal investigation because of the high numbers of police shootings, incidences of excessive use of force, and the ongoing failures of the department to take meaningful disciplinary action to prevent these abuses.8

Earlier this year, a federal judge ordered an investigation into the Oakland Police Department’s disciplinary appeals process because of the alarming number of disciplinary actions against police officers that had been revoked as a result of police union interventions. In some of these cases, officers that had been fired for excessive force, including fatal shootings, were rehired.9

While Oakland’s elected officials give lip service to “community policing,” only 8% of Oakland police officers actually live in Oakland. Oakland police are also among the highest paid officers in the nation. They are the city’s highest paid employees; the average officer makes double what other city employees make. 10

Oakland spends more on civil rights police lawsuits than nearly any other California city, with multimillion-dollar settlements coming directly out of funds that could go to libraries, parks, fire services or road repair.11

In the 1990s, a gang of police officers dubbed the “Rough Riders” were accused of planting evidence, beating up suspects and falsifying police reports to frame their victims. Their actions eventually resulted in a class action lawsuit against the city, and Oakland ended up paying out millions of dollars in compensation to at least 119 plaintiffs. After the officers were fired from the OPD, a jury that had no Black members on it, ended up clearing the four Rough Riders on eight of the counts against them, and were unable to reach a decision on 27 others.12

1 mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Ope…
2 bop.gov/about/statistics
3 adamhudson.org/2012/05/05/trayvon-marti…
4 huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/fourtee…
5 alternet.org/news-amp-politics/1-black-…
6 amren.com/news/2014/03/blacks-stopped-m…
7 antievictionmappingproject.net/opd.html
[8) www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2011/oct…
9 www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_263…
10 kaplanforoakland.org/projects/release-k…
11 oaklandpolicebeat.com/2014/04/oakland-s…
12 www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2011/oct…

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