INDIANAPOLIS (December 26, 2015) — Indianapolis police fatally shot more people this year than they have in any one year in nearly a decade.
Officers fatally shot nine people in 2015, The Indianapolis Star reported (http://indy.st/1mb7xvz ).
The only year that’s close is 2013, when eight fatal shootings were attributed to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, data showed.
Fatal police shootings predating 2007 were not counted because they happened before Indianapolis police merged with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
The newspaper found that Indianapolis has more fatal police shootings when compared to similar-sized departments.
Experts caution that nationwide data on police shootings are inadequate, and say that makes it hard to draw firm conclusions about the use of fatal force.
Even with good data, police-involved shootings need to be assessed in context, said David Klinger, professor of criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a former Los Angeles police officer. Variables such as whether the suspect was armed, what the suspect was armed with and the nature of the incident are all important when assessing a police-involved shooting.
“The point is, we don’t know, and all of this is important in getting a deep understanding,” Klinger said.
In a statement, IMPD said officers are increasingly encountering people who pose a threat to safety.
“Often times we are confronted with violent individuals who either suffer from mental illness or refuse to obey lawful orders from police,” IMPD said in the statement. “Uniformed Crime Reporting data compiled after an officer assaulted incident shows an upward trend over the past few years of individuals willing to utilize a firearm or other dangerous weapons against our officers.”