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Twenty-Three People Killed by American Police in Span of One Week

From May 1, 2013, to August 24, 1,450 people have been killed by police

At least twenty-three people were killed by officers from various United States police departments in the past week. That means about three people died in the custody or at the hands of police every day from September 18-24.

The frequency in which police use force, especially lethal force, would seem to deserve quite a bit of attention, however, it is rarely highlighted by news media. For the most part, it goes ignored.

Only when there was a crisis in Ferguson after a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager did media examine how often people are killed by police in the US.

The “Killed by Police” Facebook page keeps track of deaths as they occur and, from May 1, 2013, to August 24, 1,450 people have been killed. When calculated, about three people were killed each day.

The following incidents were noted by the page over the past week:

September 18

According to local news reports, African-American Charles Smith was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, and put into a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind him. He allegedly moved his hands to “the front of his body” and kicked out the patrol car window. He somehow allegedly had a gun. An officer shot him.

“Do you want to die?” Maurice Williams, a witness claimed the officer said. “He shot Smith in the legs,” and, according to Williams, the officer “fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back.”

September 19

A local news affiliate reported that Ricky Lynn Bunch of Grainger, Tennesse, was shot by police after a chase and standoff. A relative reported that Bunch had stolen a car. Police chased Bunch and, during the standoff, Bunch allegedly had a pistol and shotgun and was getting in and out of his vehicle. Police shot him.

Eighteen-year-old Levi Weaver was shot by chief jail administrator Jerry Shellhouse in his home in Cedartown, Georgia. Shellhouse was in the area and decided to take a call reporting that a resident was “acting erratically.” Weaver allegedly had a baseball bat and kitchen knife and lunged at Shellhouse before he was shot and killed.

William Smith was shot and killed by police in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He apparently was involved in a standoff with officers from the New Mexico State Police and Las Cruces Police Department, according to a local news report. Officers allegedly saw what they believed were “multiple pistols.” They allegedly tried to negotiate, but he stopped talking to them at some point. Chemical agents were deployed and a New Mexico state police officer “perceived a deadly threat.” The officer shot him.

In Anaheim, California, Steen Parker III was killed. Reportedly, the Anaheim Police Tactical Response Group were deployed to a scene at a dealership where a male was in a dark BMW SUV. They allegedly negotiated with Parker, who was suspected of being involved in an armed robbery. Police say he suddenly fired at officers and police fired back at him.

Kimberlee King, an African-American woman, was arrested in Pagedale, Missouri for traffic warrants. Police did not shoot her. Allegedly, according to a local Fox News affiliate, she “hung herself in her cell.” Family say King was not suffering from any sort of depression and had no “history of mental illness.” They also do not think the cell had enough room for anyone to hang themselves with a shirt.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."