Police across the U.S. have shot and killed 492 people throughout the first six months of this year, a tally that is nearly identical to the number of fatal shootings in the same period over the past two years.
Despite a drop in the number of unarmed people killed by police, the total number of killings is on track to near 1,000 deaths for the third year in a row, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. 2017's tally is so similar to last year's numbers, that the count was exactly the same on June 16, the report found.
Following a string of widely reported police shootings that led to the death of numerous black civilians in recent years, some police chiefs have vowed to take measures to reduce the number of violent encounters amid protests and calls for reform. But the data shows that little has changed.
"These numbers show us that officer-involved shootings are constant over time," Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminologist who has studied police use of force, told the Post. "Some places go up, some go down, but it’s averaging out. This is our society in the 21st century."
The data shows that police continue to fatally shoot white men armed with guns or other types of weapons the most, but that officers also shoot a disproportionate amount of black men, who account for nearly of quarter of the deaths despite making up just 6% of the U.S. population. Additionally, the report found that one in four people killed in 2017 were mentally ill.