New Washington Post Report Sheds Light on 250 Women Killed by Police Since 2015

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Six months have passed since the murder of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician, who was shot to death by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

So far, Police Chief Steve Conrad announced his early retirement following public criticism of the department’s handling of the case. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer only suspended the use of “no-knock” warrants.

Justice for Taylor and her family is still conspicuous by its absence, and her name has become a rallying cry for the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

However, Taylor was only the latest victim on a list of more than 200 women killed by police since 2015.

A new Washington Post special report found that police have fatally shot 250 women in just five years, 89 of whom were killed in their homes or residences.

Since The Post began tracking incidents, officers have killed more than 5,600 people, mostly unarmed Black men.

Of the 247 women shot dead, 48 were Black, and seven were unarmed. At least 89 were in their homes, and 12 were killed by officers who were there to conduct a search or make an arrest.

“Since 2015, Black women have accounted for less than 1 percent of the overall fatal shootings in cases where race was known. But within this small subset, Black women, who are 13 percent of the female population, account for 20 percent of the women shot and killed and 28 percent of the unarmed deaths,” the media explains. 

Taylor’s death “could have easily been forgotten, and it was almost forgotten,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum, a racial justice think tank which created the #SayHerName campaign in 2014 to elevate the stories of Black women killed by police. “But I think the fact that other cases were happening in the same season made it harder to simply overlook her case.”

Because women overall account for a much smaller number of people killed by police, Crenshaw said Black women often are left out of the public narrative about the use of force by police against Black people. Police have shot and killed 1,274 Black men since January 2015.

Crenshaw said Black women’s deaths also might be dismissed as “collateral damage” if they are killed while police are pursuing someone else. Twenty of the 247 women were killed in that kind of situation, analysis shows. In 12 of those 20 shootings, police said the women killed were caught in crossfire or shot accidentally.

“As long as Black women lose their lives in circumstances like these, their lost life won’t be dramatized in a way that mobilizes the kinds of reforms that have to happen in order to protect more life and to make police officers accountable,” Crenshaw said.

With information from the Washington Post.