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Over Six Hundred Were Killed by US Police in 6 Months

In 32 percent of police killings, victims typically attempted to flee by running or driving. However, in this case, experts claim that the use of force in these cases is unreasonable, they endanger the public.

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Times Square, New York City, USA [Photo: Patrick Robert Doyle]

Syed Faisal Arif, a Bangladeshi student of the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States, was shot dead by the police last January. Ever since Faisal, a computer science student of Dattamara Union in Fatikchari, Chittagong, was killed, his family has been demanding an investigation demanding the police to be accused. But even after six months, the family has not seen anything about the trial.

Another Bangladeshi, Ramim Uddin Ahmed, lost his life this year in the firing of terrorists. Ramim’s house is also in Chittagong; Mirsrai in Karerhat Union. In 2021, a Bangladeshi youth was killed in shooting. Protests in Bangladesh’s Chittagong demands a strict action in this regard. US embassy in Dhaka expressed their condolences.US Embassy in Dhaka has condoled recent killing of a Bangladeshi youth in the Missouri state.

“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of a 22-year-old student from Bangladesh, who died tragically in an apparent robbery in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States”, said a statement of the embassy Friday.

At least three people are being killed by the police every day in the United States, which has been vocal about stopping human rights violations and extrajudicial killings in various countries around the world. At least 602 people, including two Bangladeshis, have been killed in police violence in the country in the six months up to the first week of this July.

Mapping Police Violence, a website dealing with police violence in the United States, has been publishing the number of police deaths in the country since 2013. According to the information provided by the report of the organization, the country has lost the most lives at the hands of the police since 2013. In 2022, nearly 100 people lost their lives at the hands of police in the United States every month. And at the end of the year that number stood at 1 thousand 176 people.

According to the report of the British media The Guardian, most of the victims died due to police obstruction, electric shocks, shootings and beatings.

According to data from Mapping Police Violence, at least 31 more people lost their lives at the hands of the police in 2022 than in 2021. 1 thousand 145 people were killed by the police in 2021. In 2022, that number increased to 1 thousand 176 people.

Before that, 1 thousand 152 people lost their lives at the hands of police in 2020, 1 thousand 97 people in 2019, 1 thousand 140 people in 2018 and 1 thousand 89 people lost their lives in 2017. So, in the history of the last five years, the maximum number of people lost their lives in the hands of the police in 2022.

According to an annual report since 2013, at least 11,684 people have been killed by police in the United States through the first week of July this year.

Even though there are so many extrajudicial deaths at the hands of the police in the country, the country has never raised any questions. Even once the officer involved was prosecuted in the face of widespread protests after the killing of Floyd, a black man, in most other cases there is no word of justice or questions about human rights violations. But it is the United States that has imposed sanctions on RAB, the elite force of Bangladesh, since December 2021, accusing it of human rights violations.

‘Routine encounter’ behind so many killings

The Guardian reports that people are losing their lives at the hands of the police every day in the United States, as a ‘routine encounter’. Mapping Police Violence claimed that 132 of the total number of people killed by the police in the country in 2022 were killed for no reason.

Apart from this, 104 people had mental health problems, while 98 people were killed for simply breaking traffic laws. There were various charges against the 207 victims of the killings, but there were no allegations of violence against them. In 128 of those killed, police were at risk due to possession of firearms. 370 people were accused of involvement in more serious crimes. Another 128 people who were killed were accused of domestic violence.

Samuel Sinyangwe, founder of Mapping Police Violence, said, “These are routine police encounters, but they actually indicate murder.”

He said, “Though there is talk of reducing this violence by the police, this violence is actually not ending. It is clear that there has been an increase in the number of killings and frankly it is a deeply systematic killing.’

In 32 percent of police killings, victims typically attempted to flee by running or driving. However, in this case, experts claim that the use of force in these cases is unreasonable, they endanger the public.

In June of last year, Ohio police officers fired dozens of shots at a man named Jayland Walker. Walker was unarmed and trying to run away. A month later, a police officer in California got out of a car and shot and killed a man named Robert Adams. There, too, an unarmed Adams was seen trying to escape in reverse.

Mapping Police Violence, according to their data, black people have been the victims of the most murders in the United States from 2013 to last year. Blacks account for 24 percent of all homicides in the country. But they are only 13 percent of the total population of the country.

Jacob Blake Sr., the father of a young man who was paralyzed in a 2020 Kenosha police shooting, said, “The power of the police, like judge, jury or executioner, has been taken to another level. No matter how much we insist that it is wrong, society allows it to happen.’

Samina Akhter

Samina Akhter is a Dhaka-based columnist and women and human rights activist.

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