Police Shootings in the United States


In the recent time, extrajudicial shootings in the United States have increased to a higher level. There have been cries in the country and all over the world concerning these acts that are taking a lot of innocent lives of harmless citizens. The fatal shootings have gone to a much extend by escalating racism in the country where the police have executed several African black men. The paper tries to go into details of explaining these acts and their real impact on the U. S. citizens. The article also describes and recommends the possible solutions in order to avoid these shootings, possibility to involve various organizations that have carried out their research and presented the reports to the United States. The local laws of the country have been analyzed in the papers. The article explains the acts of shooting innocent people by the law enforcers explicitly.

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Police shootings in the United States have grown over the years. Currently, the issue has attracted the national concern to the extent of being one of the major topics of discussion at the just concluded presidential debate. Thousands of men and women of our beloved country are killed yearly nearly across the major states of the United States. The exact statistics of those who have lost life is not established due to the speed and repetition of these erroneous acts by the ‘men in blue,’ that is, the police. There has been privatization of the government for failing to protect the lives of innocent Americans against such brutality from law enforcement representatives. The insufficient accounting for such shootings has only directed the public into believing that there is the disproportionate treatment of the public, especially African-American men, who have in past been the principal victims of these acts from the police. Although a major percentage of people who are killed are African American men, also women are involved in the shooting process.

Police violence has escalated fear in the public as the police had the trust of the citizens initially to uphold law and order, besides, securing people and their property. The law enforcers are entitled to defend legislation and regulations. They are also responsible for protecting and respecting the lives of each and every citizen with no biases or disproportion. The police task is always challenging and mainly dangerous, though they have no justification for the shooting of the murder of innocent lives like Michael Brown in Ferguson, in addition to dozens of other people. They should always be cautious when rendering their services to the public and act professionally as their ethics of good contact state. The government has noted a comprehensive blueprint of racial discrimination by the police besides this alarming deployment of lethal force to the citizens of the United States.

Analysis of the Police Shootings

Basing on the illustration of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri at Ferguson on August 9, 2014, some incidences followed that worried individuals in the country. Ten days had just passed since the act when a young black man, of the age of twenty-five years, was shot in Kajieme Powell by the police officers from St. Louis. The reports suggested that young man had held a knife. According to the police claims by then, the man was brandishing a knife. The claims did not add up to justification by the available footage of the video in the scene of the shooting. There have been some people reported to have been killed by the law enforcers since then. The life of a twenty-two-year-old woman, Rekia Boyd, was ended by the Chicago police despite being unarmed. A forty-three-year-old, Eric Gamer, also falls in this endless list of police shootings.

The exercise of the deadly force by the police officers has raised many stern human rights questions. The concerns are being brought forward by the right to life by citizens, the right to secure environment for everyone, the freedom right from discrimination besides the equal right to protection by the regulation and law. The U.S. government has a legal duty to protect, respect, and uphold all these human rights. The nation has ratified the International Covent regarding the political and civil rights. Also, the international convention based on the abolition of all manner of racial discrimination had been ratified. The two explicitly safeguards and protect the above rights.

One of the primary obligations of any state is to use the law enforcers as the agents of the nation. The officers have to comply with this responsibility that has been bestowed upon them by protecting the lives of citizens of the country. In the process of carrying out their primary duties of the operations of law enforcement, ending the life of people by a bullet cannot be justified by any explanation. According to the International Law, officers are required to deploy the use of this kind of lethal force as a last resort in their operations. It is mainly allowed as a last resort primarily to protect others and themselves from serious injuries or even death. The United Nations, underlying premise on the use of firearms and force, provides that those entrusted with enforcing the law shall not deploy the use of force or firearms against any individual except in defense of others from imminent threats and for self-defense by the law enforcers against serious injuries and death. It explicitly explains such incidences, that is, “deliberate lethal use of force and firearms can only be deployed in cases strictly unavoidable with an intention to protect life”. Moreover, international law enforcement standards obligate that any manner of the lethal force might be used in cases where there are no additional means at disposal that can be utilized for the purpose of arriving at the set objective. When the force cannot be avoidable, it should not be more than it is essential and proportionate to attain the goal. The police have to use it on the basis structured to reduce the injury or damage. They have to preserve and respect human life and, provide medical aid in a reasonably short time for those who have been injured.

UN and Amnesty International Research and Report

The two international organizations, UN and Amnesty International, carried out the research in the United States concerning the extrajudicial shootings. They used inferential statistics alongside the descriptive statistics in their analysis. The derivation of the sample was taken from the affected areas, where individuals were selected randomly and graphic data registered concerning these acts the organization presented first analysis of the research and report.

UN Special Report on Police Shootings in the United States

According to the report from the UN findings on extrajudicial or the arbitrary shootings, there was a proposal of coming up with a suitable legal structure for the use of lethal force and firearms by the law enforcers. Therefore, it will ensure favorable conditions in which the use of force in certain circumstances is permitted. The police system should become more cautious and responsible in cases where the set boundaries are transgressed. The report further highlighted the particular significance of the local law in the manner that laws and regulations of the nation are resilience as the first line, also, in several cases, they are the most efficient defense line. They mainly aim to ensure the protection of the life, in line with the irreversibility of its infringement. The domestic and national laws do play a very significant role in explaining the understanding and obedience to law by officers. The bill also ensures the accountability conditions and the general public alike regarding the powers of the police. Due to these reasons, there must exist a substantial need for providing that local laws internationally are in line with the set international standards. In many cases, it becomes too late to control this in circumstances where the tension has already set in.

Amnesty International Analyzed US Laws

The organization examined the deployment of lethal force regulations and legislation and concluded that the laws did not comply with the standards of international alongside the international law. Many statutes did not even meet the threshold standard as stipulated in the constitution of the U.S. law. Several state laws at the moment permitted the use of lethal force with the aim of suppressing any opposition during an arrest of an individual. That is, suspected felony arrest; riot suppression or commonly known in the country as mutiny; or for particular crimes like burglary. A lot of statutes permitted the law enforcers to use deadly force to curtain a prison or jail escape. Some other rules allowed private individuals to use this force in cases where they are carrying out activities pertaining law enforcement.

Amnesty International had the following findings from their research:

  • The entire 50 states alongside the city of Washington DC did not comply with the standards and the international law on the use of the force by the police.
  • 9 states, in addition to Washington DC, at present do not have rules on the use of force by law enforcers.
  • 13 states encompass legislation that fails even meet the terms of the low standards stipulated by the U.S. Constitutional Law concerning the use of force by officers.

Numerous of the countrywide protests in the recent extrajudicial shootings have demanded responsibility, and the law of international obligates it. Nearly all circumstances of the police utilization of lethal force have to be a subject to impartial, transparent, and independent investigation. On the one hand, the evidence establishes that assassination was unlawful; the enforcer law officer in charge should be prosecuted fully on criminal charges. On the other hand, responsibility for police exercise of lethal force is sternly missing in the United States. The enforcers’ police organization usually carries out the investigation before handing the case for review to the local prosecutor. Therefore, the local prosecutor can either convene a jury or make a decision directly on whether the filing charges should be against the police officer or not. With the fact that the handling of investigations is internal besides prosecutors must uphold good working contact with the system of police as well as accomplish their responsibility of research and later prosecuting police on the violation of use force. Many people have expressed their calls to the independent prosecution and investigations. There is also an in-depth analysis in the report on whether some accountability plans are in place to the local laws and regulations concerning the use of force. Amnesty International in the past has documented concerns related to the oversight mechanisms within the United States besides the necessity for self-governing and efficient control organization to be recognized.

Findings and Recommendation

  • The U.S. government has failed to account for how many citizens have been killed by the officers. The nation only bases their statistics on estimates that are between four hundred people to over one thousand people.
  • African American men are excessively impacted by the extrajudicial shootings, based on the limited statistics available. On the other side, blacks correspond to nearly 13.2% moderation of the entire U.S. population. They correspond to 27.6% of the entirety shootings at the hands of officers (6,338) incorporated in the numbers on aggressive deaths noted by the Center for Disease Control amid the year 1999 and 2013.
  • The United States has not respected and defended the right to life. The nation has failed to ensure that home legislation conforms to international standards of human rights law and on the use of deadly force by the law enforcement officers.
  • All 50 states besides Washington, D.C. have not failed to comply with international law and the set standards on the exercise of lethal power by law enforcement officers.
  • Nine states in addition to Washington, D.C. do not rule on the deployment of deadly force by officers: Massachusetts; Michigan; South Carolina; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin, Ohio; Wyoming; and the Columbia District.
  • Currently, nine states, in addition to Washington DC, do not have laws on the use of force by law enforcers: Alabama; California; Florida; Mississippi; Delaware; Missouri; Montana; New York; Oregon; New Jersey; Rhode Island; South Dakota; in addition to Vermont.
  • None of the statutes of the nation require that the exercise of the lethal power to use it only as the last resort in cases where non-violent and little injurious means have been tried.
  • No state confines the use of mortal power to only those circumstances where there is a looming threat of life or serious injury to the police officer or public.

Key Recommendation

All nation legislatures should bring in and amend statutes which approve the use of moral force to make sure that they meet international standards by restricting the use of deadly force by law enforcement onto those situations in which it is essential to guard against the danger of death or serious injury. The statutes are supposed to be brought into conformity with the U.N. Code of Conduct concerning Law Enforcement Officers and the basic values on the use of power and Firearms Enforcement Officials.


The extrajudicial shootings in the United States have in the recent time increased to a higher level. According to the study it is evident that there have been cries in the country and all over the world concerning this acts that are taking a lot of lives of innocent, harmless citizens. The research proves that the shootings have gone to a much extend by escalating racism in the country where the police have executed several African-American men. The case has been on the rise and many people have been affected. The evidence from previous studies account for the rise in cases of police shootings in most parts of the United States. In this regard, states should come up with amend statutes, which approve the use of moral force to make sure that they meet international standards by restricting the use of deadly force by law enforcers. The statutes should conform to the U.N. Code of Conduct concerning Law Enforcement Officers and the basic values on the use of power and Firearms Enforcement Officials.

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