Every 36 hours, a black person is killed by a police officer

25 Aug

“Justice for Alan” poster. Part of Justice for Alan Blueford campaign in Oakland. (Photo Credit: IndyBay)

While the death of Trayvon Martin has largely fallen off the public radar, the killing of black people by police officers, security guards, or armed vigilantes continues unabated. On May 6, Alan Blueford, an 18-year-old African-American male who was about to graduate from Skyline High School, was shot three times by two Oakland police officers. Oakland police stopped and frisked Blueford and his two friends that night for drugs or weapons. Shortly after, Blueford ran and the police chased him. During the chase, police claim Blueford fired at them to which they responded with three shots. A fourth shot was fired into an officer’s foot, which police also claimed came from Blueford.

However, according to witnesses, investigators, and a coroner’s report, Blueford never shot at the police. There was a pistol found at the scene but it was never fired and it’s unclear whether it belonged to Blueford. In addition, Oakland Police Department (OPD) admitted that the fourth shot was a self-inflicted wound. One of the officer’s shot himself in the foot but initially blamed it on Blueford — a kid who never shot them. On the bright side, the Oakland community has shown their outrage at the killing in the form of robust activism. There is now a “Justice for Alan Blueford” campaign with support from Occupy Oakland.

Whenever an act of police violence occurs against an African-American or any marginalized person, it is viewed as an isolated incident. As if the case were out of the ordinary, rare, random, or accidental. This is far from the truth and a new report reveals that.

In early July, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a grassroots organization, released a report entitled “Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People”. The report examines the murders of 120 black men and women by police officers, security guards, or self-appointed law enforcers between January 1 and June 30, 2012. According to the report, the killings are considered “extrajudicial” because they happen without a trial or due process and are against international human rights standards. The most important and astounding revelation in the report is during those six months, a person of African descent was executed every 36 hours. Therefore, police violence against black people occurs far more often than reported. Rather than the exception, this sort of systemic racist violence is the norm.

There are other important revelations from the report. Many of the 120 killed were young. About 11% were children under 18 years old, 18% were 18 to 21, 40% were 22 to 31, 17% were 32 to 41, 8% were 42 to 51, 4% were over 52, and 2% were of undetermined age. This means that more than two-thirds of those killed were below the age of 31.

These extrajudicial killings occur nationwide. Some cities, especially in the South, kill black people in disproportionate numbers to the size of their black populations. However, no matter where black people go — in either the liberal San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, the Midwest, the South, or anywhere else — they are not safe from extrajudicial killing by police officers, security guards, or self-appointed law enforcers.

It is also very common for police to claim that the people they killed had a gun. However, 46% of those killed had no weapon on them when they were killed, while 18% were likely armed. The remaining 36% were, according to the report, “alleged by police to have weapons (including a cane, toy gun and bb gun)” but these allegations were disputed by witnesses or later investigations. The report adds that “police are infamous for planting weapons or deciding that a cell phone, wallet or other harmless object is a gun.” Nearly half of the reported killings occurred after a stop and frisk or situations of racial profiling, showing a relationship between “stop and frisk” policies, racial profiling, and the likelihood of police violence.

Of the 120 killed, only 15 cases, or 12.5% of them, likely involved situations where the suspect “shot and wounded and/or killed the police and/or others while the police were on the scene.” Meaning that these were cases where the use of deadly force was legitimate. For the remaining 105 cases, or 87.5%, “the killings were extrajudicial, that is, they used lethal force with no legitimate justification and violated peoples’ basic human rights.”

One would think that in a society that purports to stand up for the rule of law, the police officers, security guard, and armed vigilantes who extrajudicially execute innocent black people every 36 hours would be held accountable. However, this is not the case. Very few police officers, security guards, or self-appointed law enforcers are charged, let alone convicted, for killing black people. In addition, many cases of extrajudicial killing of black people are simply forgotten after initial reports in local news outlets. The death of Trayvon Martin and brutal beating of Rodney King are rare cases of police brutality against black people receiving national attention. Most cases are not reported in the wider mainstream media. This shows how black life is seen and treated as worthless in American society.

This phenomenon has historical precedent. When African slaves were brought to America, they were regularly beaten, whipped, tortured, and killed into submission. The message was clear: people of African descent, because of their skin color, were deemed inferior and, therefore, any act of brutality or murder against them was justified. While slavery ended in 1865, racist violence against black people did not. Lynchings of black people were a regular occurrence in the South during the era of Jim Crow. In 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American male, was severely beaten and kill by a vengeful group of white vigilantes in Mississippi for merely flirting with a white woman. Police murder of black people is nothing new, either. The main reason why the Black Panther Party formed in the 1960s was to protect black people from vicious police violence.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s meticulous report highlights a sad fact of American life — that police violence against black people is nothing new. It is systemic and normal. Black people are assumed to be criminal (even if they are not) simply because of their skin color. This leads police to profile, arrest, incarcerate, and kill black people more often than whites, especially for nonviolent drug offenses (even though whites and blacks use drugs at roughly the same rate). The fact that black people are murdered by the police, security guards, or armed vigilantes every 36 hours is a reminder of American racism’s brutal realities.


The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement updated their report for this year. The actual number is one every 28 hours for black people killed by police officers, security guards, or vigilantes. I wrote about this for AlterNet.


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24 responses to “Every 36 hours, a black person is killed by a police officer


    March 18, 2015 at 8:39 am


  2. Big60

    December 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    why are white adults, (police), allowed to murder black minors?
    Isn’t there a law when it comes to adults and children?
    Isn’t there a law against harassment?
    Isn’t there a law against murder?
    Or is there law at all?

  3. Denver

    November 27, 2014 at 9:59 am

    So, using your figures of 1 every 36 hours means 243 and one third … black people are killed by police every year.

    1500 black children are killed every year by other blacks. That’s 4 every day not 1 every day and a half. Blacks may not be able to solve white racism but they can certainly stop killing one another.

    Oh and it doesn’t help the cause either that 80% of the violent crimes in America are committed by Black people.

    • darren

      April 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

      yeah but they constantly kill black people so shut up

      • Denver

        April 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm


        Blacks need to stop killing one another.

  4. C.E.Mills

    August 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Death by cop, even at these numbers, are far below black on black violence. Ask any black prison inmate serving time for capital offenses who their victim was….trying to cure a cold before destroying the cancer is foolish….yes, be upset and revolt against police brutality, but spread the anger equally.

    • darren

      April 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

      no not really stfu

  5. James Reed

    July 15, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for your blog about the racial genocide of whites by blacks. Every day in this country 5-10 whites are murdered by blacks. Here’s just one out of hundreds that people like you ignore: the racist torture-murder of Christian Chapman and his girlfriend by black fiends in Knoxville. The young white woman was submerged in a vat of urine for three days, the young man was taken to a RR track and murdered there.

    Me, I’m wondering why a gang of 5 year-old-blacks would attack my 3-year-old nephew, giving him broken ribs, 50 stitches on his scalp, sneakerprints on his face.

    I haven’t liked blacks since I was in a small office in a church with a young lady, and 3 blacks (cute teenagers, eating their Skittles, you would call them) with Mickey Mouse masks, burst into the room with guns, cut the phone lines and demanded drugs and money. I thought my life was over. This is what i call racist scum, even if you don’t. Blacks, even today, make me nervous, and they are mostly racists, unless they are immigrants from Africa.

    Yeah, I know you’ll delete my post. Blacks don’t like Freedom of Speech when other people post opposing views.

    • Lula

      July 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Funny. I’m a small white female. I have been in many, many settings many, many times when I am the only white person.surrounded by black people. And no one has ever laid a finger on me, or even given me a cross look. Where are all these dangerous, aggressive, murderous black people you’re talking about? Oh. Did you make it up, or did you incite people by being a racist asshole? You Klan bastard.

      • James Reed

        July 17, 2013 at 1:40 am

        Typical of a pro-black racist like you to say I am lying. You have the compassion of a rattlesnake.

        You think 3-years-olds getting their heads stomped on is acceptable behavior? You are scum.

        I am just talking about a few things that have happened to me. You have to multiply this by 200 million whites, and you see (not you, you’re blind) the extent of the black racism problem.

        Now these thugs are ready to rape, riot, and murder because one man who is partially white, killed a black man. They are so insane with race rage that they assume a Hispanic man with a black grandparent is white. Race rage.

        I have been in many countries, all over the world, and walked in many neighborhoods, where I am the only white person. I have only felt uncomfortable when walking through black neighborhoods in DC or NYC. I can hear the N-word tossed around while they laugh about it, glancing at me to see my reaction. Or they rob and harass Orientals or beat up bums. Cowardly pack hyenas.

        In every other place, I am being looked at, and I am comfortable. Only in black racist America, in Philly, DC, NYC, there is an active racist hate, or the smiley kind, a covert hostility – a grin with a knife behind the back, and I am not comfortable.

        You don’t know how life works. If your life is threatened by blacks, and then a year later, your nephew’s life is threatened by blacks, and then another nephew has his van firebombed while visiting his friend in Chicago, then after a while you don’t like blacks. This is not a racism problem, this is simple survival.

        I am just talking about a few things that have happened to me. I haven’t detailed a lot of other stuff where my family and friends have been victims of violent black racism.

        You have to multiply this by 200 million whites, and you see (not you, you’re blind) the extent of the black racism problem.

        And still, you think all the black racist crime is justified because some creepy azz cracka killed Trayvon Martin. A once in a decade event.

        Yeah, I can where a white female wouldn’t be cursed or spit at. But, OJ was innocent, right?

      • darren

        April 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

        no he didn’t make them up watch the news it always shows black people getting killed by white cops so go shut up and no one cares u r a white girl

      • darren

        April 26, 2015 at 10:24 am

        Lula u need help u r the racist one no one gives a crap u r a white small female I think u r a man u crusty fat jerk

      • darren

        April 26, 2015 at 10:35 am

        LULa everything James Reed says about u is true u r a white rude crusty hag. im mixed so when black people look at me at school im like turn around. u r like turn ur black head around shut up lola u live in a cave all by yourself

    • Truth

      August 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Hello there Mr. Reed. Sorry to hear about your nephew, but you are racist and people of every race commit crimes, and if you are nervous walking in a black neighborhood it is only out of fear that one of them black people in the hood is going to bash your head in for some of the cruel thoughts and things that you say about black people; your conscious is what has you scared because truth of the matter is them niggers is not thinking about your white ass, and another thing stupid white people (not talking about you, but hence the word…stupid, unless you are stupid) are reaping what they have sown sorry that your children are suffering at the hands of this generation because of what your ancestors did to them, but it happens; it happened to the blacks, generations ago and it is still happening to them today. Another thing don’t try to make it seem like black people are evil because your kind is the cruel ones and they kill innocent children everyday on purpose, your kind are the mass murders, killing 10 to 32 people just because they are bored, want to make it in the history books, or stupid. Never heard of no black man shooting up a school, movie theater, church, or restaurant,(try this website out to help you learn something… You try to sell the story of the church situation what about the black people who were slaved, murdered, and bombed for racist reasons and mainly skin, remind you they did not ask to come over here, your sorry ancestors were too damn lazy to cook and clean their house, tend to their own damn children and fields so they went to Africa and took them people from their own homeland, brought them over here and treated them lesser than how we treat our pets (had them in captivity) and them poor black women were raped everyday at the hands of their master, and families were sold for little of nothing often times separated because of ignorant skunks such as yourself with this image in your head that blacks are evil when it is clearly your kind that is evil and you too damn stubborn and blind to even see that crime has no color it is all done by people all over the world of every gender and race. Again sorry to hear about your nephew, but remember there is always two sides to a story. You going around stereotyping the rest of the black culture for the few that stomped on your nephews head, trying to be funny with your skittles joke, but it was lame because the same way you feel about your nephew is the same way Trayvon’s mother feel about him; he did not deserve to be shot just like your nephew did not deserve to be jumped regardless of whatever reason. You try to sound intelligent but came off being ignorant. They come in the church with Mickey Mouse mask demanding money and drugs, where was this so I can Google it. Little FYI (for your information), majority of black people on drugs smoke marijuana, the white people on drugs do much harder drugs, go sit inside of a courtroom one day and you will get to see who do much harder drugs the ones that will send people running in churches (too funny, you are). And watch Americas Most Wanted and Cops look at all them white faces flashing across your screen; wanted and getting arrested, again you are too funny for me. If you are a religious man you must not serve the same God I serve because if you tense up every time a black person comes your way then how do you think you are going to make it into Heaven where we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we will all walk around Heaven together peacefully, well I know I will. However, if you were to change your way of thinking about black people than you wouldn’t be so nervous or scared around one, but just like their are some black hyenas in the world there are also some white hyenas and the difference is you see the blacks sin before you will your own because truth of the matter is a black man can commit the same crime as you, but you aren’t wrong just them hyena looking niggers right? May the Lord God bless you.


        March 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

        Truth that was deep word you did him dirty real professionally!


      April 30, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Wow u are so lost your soul needs to be healed only God knows your heart! But if you walk around with that animosity you will visit your maker before your time. Ima pray for you cause you can’t group all blacks together. We’re all different. I wouldn’t claim that all whites are slave owners and other bullshit. And to let you know we are just as afraid of you as you are of us. Remember you in slaved us! And far as what happen to your nephew is horrible! And it sadden me. And when u were robbed I understand the fear! But honey we’ve been beat dragged hung abused mistreated hated spit on raped killed by those who suppose to protect us! And I wonder why we animals!we’ve never been unslaved.

  6. Lynda Petek

    January 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

    That doesn’t make it the core issue. Sure, the stories of innocent black people being shot would seem to confirm that the issue is racism. But that JonesReport link you gave included cases of police brutality against white people too.

  7. Clifton Robinson

    December 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Great story, keep researching on behalf of African Americans civil rights. There is a continual need to keep vigil pertaining to our rights.

  8. Sunkoshi

    August 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I posted this blog on my Facebook page, with the following comment:

    This is a well-written blog about a revealing analysis on the widespread killing of young black people by police, vigilantes, and security guards, so far this year. It should be read by EVERYONE with any interest in social justice on any issue. VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!

    I have 2,500 or so friends, who are pretty much all liberal or progressive. I really hope this information gets out to a wider audience. I have been alarmed by the few extrajudicial killings that made the news, assuming there were more; but now I can see with certainty that they are just the tip of the iceberg. These killings are more widespread than I imagined.

    I heard of your blog from the Obamacrat, so thanks, JB!

    I am going to follow your blog, now too.

  9. Jueseppi B.

    August 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Thank you Mr. Adam Hudson for this post. It is vital and should be shared by every blogger of every skin color.

    • Adam Hudson

      August 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you liked this piece and thank you for sharing it.

      • Jueseppi B.

        August 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

        You have real talent Mr. Hudson. I am glad I started following you.


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