Atiba Lewis wielded a knife in his left hand as he rushed a detective before he was shot and killed at an apartment complex in Plainsboro, where Middlesex County sheriff’s officers had gone to serve him with an eviction notice on Feb. 16.
Two Edison Police Department officers shot and killed Merrill Rambarose, a 49-year-old former software engineer at NYU Langone Health who allegedly suffered from mental illness, during an April 12 confrontation outside of his apartment complex in Middlesex County at about 3:45 p.m.
Keansburg Police officers shot and killed 55-year-old James Sutton—who was armed with a large knife, holding a pharmacy employee at knifepoint, and demanding oxycodone—on Jan. 6, around 3:30 p.m. when they responded 911 calls reporting a robbery at the Main Street drug store.
These three New Jersey residents were among the 1,098 people killed by police in the United States during 2022, according to Mapping Police Violence, a database of police killings in the United States, and the Police Scorecard, a website with data on police use of force and accountability metrics on US police and sheriff’s departments.
Mapping Police Violence and the Police Scorecard obtained data on 502 police departments in New Jersey.
Based on population, a Black person was 8.5 times as likely and a Latinx person was 1.5 times as likely to be killed by police as a White person in New Jersey from 2013 through 2021.
“We cannot wait to know the true scale of police violence against our communities,” said Samuel Sinyangwe, a member of the Movement for Black Lives who created the two websites. “In a country where at least three people are killed by police every day, we cannot wait for police departments to provide us with these answers.”
“The maps and charts on this site aim to provide us with insights into patterns of police violence across the country,” said Sinyangwe. “They include information on more than 10,000 killings by police nationwide since 2013.” “
“Ninety-seven percent of the killings in our database occurred while a police officer was acting in a law enforcement capacity,” said Sinyangwe. “Importantly, these data do not include killings by vigilantes or security guards who are not off-duty police officers.”
While the three New Jersey police slayings cited above appear to be reasonable reactions to violent incidents, some cases look like horrific injustices.
In more than two years since George Floyd’s murder, the United States has made little progress in preventing the deaths of its citizens at the hands of law enforcement.
Police officers in America continue to kill people at the alarming rate of at least three per day, according to a data analysis that has raised concerns about the Biden administration’s push to expand police investments amid growing concerns about crime.
Police have killed roughly 1,100 people each year since 2013, and 2022 is coming to an end with just about the same number.
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