Accurate figures on police shootings in America are notoriously tricky to come by, not in the least because the departments that would be implicated by that data often control its release. But a new report by Vice News published on Monday revealed the number of Americans who are shot by police officers is significantly higher than what has previously been reported.
According to an analysis of 50 of the country’s largest police departments, Vice found police shot at more than 4,000 people between 2010 and 2016, which the site says is more than twice the rate previously known (and still likely much lower than the real number).
Much of the new data in Vice’s report is on non-fatal police shootings. Counting these incidents revealed a stark racial bias, with police shooting black people 2.5 times more often than white people, according to the data.
But the report also found some movement in the right direction. Since the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, kicked off a national movement against police brutality, these shootings have dropped by 20% in the departments surveyed, much of this due to a reduction in non-fatal shootings. According to Vice, this trend “can be traced to a handful of large departments, including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Las Vegas that enacted reforms. In fact, seven of the 10 cities with the largest reductions in police shootings had one thing in common: federal intervention.”
Those outcomes make Jeff Sessions’ decision to halt these federally directed reforms even more disheartening, but they also make clear that systemic police violence isn’t an unsolvable problem.