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Guardian analysis finds 102 people killed by police so far this year were unarmed, and that agencies are killing people at twice the rate calculated by US government
The Counted: people killed by police in the United States in 2015 – interactive
Jon Swaine, Oliver Laughland and Jamiles Lartey in New York
Monday 1 June 2015 13.38 BST
Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons.
An analysis of public records, local news reports and Guardian reporting found that 32% of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25% of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15% of white people killed.
The findings emerged from a database filled by a five-month study of police fatalities in the US, which calculated that local and state police and federal law enforcement agencies are killing people at twice the rate calculated by the US government’s official public record of police homicides. The database names five people whose names have not been publicly released.
The Guardian’s statistics include deaths after the police use of a Taser, deaths caused by police vehicles and deaths following altercations in police custody, as well as those killed when officers open fire. They reveal that 29% of those killed by police, or 135 people, were black. Sixty-seven, or 14%, were Hispanic/Latino, and 234, or 50%, were white. In total, 102 people who died during encounters with law enforcement in 2015 were unarmed.
The figures illustrate how disproportionately black Americans, who make up just 13% of the country’s total population according to census data, are killed by police. Of the 464 people counted by the Guardian, an overwhelming majority – 95% – were male, with just 5% female.
Steven Hawkins, the executive director Amnesty International USA, described the racial imbalance as “startling”. Hawkins said: “The disparity speaks to something that needs to be examined, to get to the bottom of why you’re twice as likely to be shot if you’re an unarmed black male.”
Relatives of unarmed people killed by police in high-profile incidents during the past year – including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tony Robinson and Walter Scott – described the Guardian project as a breakthrough in the national debate over the use of deadly force by law enforcement.
“Giving this kind of data to the public is a big thing,” said Erica Garner, whose father’s killing by police in New York City last year led to international protests. “Other incidents like murders and robberies are counted, so why not police-involved killings? With better records, we can look at what is happening and what might need to change.”
The initiative was also praised by a range of policing experts and by campaigners who are urging government authorities to make the official recording of fatalities mandatory for all 18,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies operating in the US.
“It’s troubling that we have no official data from the federal government,” said Laurie Robinson, the co-chair of Barack Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing. “I think it’s very helpful, in light of that fact, to have this kind of research undertaken.”
Beginning on Monday, the Guardian is publishing The Counted, a comprehensive interactive database monitoring all police killings in the US through 16 data points including age, location, gender, ethnicity, whether the person killed was armed and which policing agency was responsible.
The Counted logs the precise location of each fatal incident, providing what is the most detailed map of police killings ever published. California, America’s most populous state, has the highest total with 74 fatalities so far this year.
However, an analysis of location data shows that Oklahoma, where 22 people have died through encounters with law enforcement, is the state with the highest rate of fatal incidents per person in 2015, at one fatality per 175,000 people over five months.
Over the weekend, Nehemiah Fischer, a 35-year-old pastor, was shot dead by an Oklahoma state trooper after getting into a fight when told to evacuate his truck in rising flood waters south of Tulsa. Police have said Fischer had a firearm but have not explained whether he was armed during the confrontation.
The database, which will combine Guardian reporting with verified crowdsourced information, has logged 464 police killings for the first five months of 2015. The US government’s record, which is run by the FBI, counted 461 “justifiable homicides” by law enforcement in all of 2013, the latest year for which official data is available.
The vast majority of deaths recorded – 408 – were caused by gunshot. Of the 27 deaths that occurred after a Taser was deployed by law enforcement, all but one involved an unarmed person.
On Sunday, Richard Davis, an unarmed black 50-year-old, died after being shocked with a Taser by police in Rochester, New York. Davis was said by authorities to have run from his truck towards officers with clenched fists after being told to put his hands up following a crash. Relatives said he was a veteran of the US marines.
The Guardian has also identified 14 officer-involved deaths following altercations in custody. The total includes Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old resident of Baltimore whose death from a broken neck sustained in a police van led to protests, rioting and the indictment of six city police officers.
Another 12 people died following collisions with law enforcement vehicles. The family of Bernard Moore, who was 62, are calling for the criminal prosecution of an officer who fatally struck Moore with his squad car in Atlanta, allegedly while speeding without emergency lights or sirens on.
By logging each law enforcement agency involved in the 464 deaths, the Guardian can also now report that the Los Angeles police department, the country’s third largest local police department, has been involved in the highest number of deaths of any local department. This year, 10 people have died in encounters with LAPD officers, of whom five were unarmed.
The Oklahoma City police department and the Los Angeles sheriff’s office were both involved in five deaths, two individuals in both of these jurisdictions being unarmed.
High-profile cases in Los Angeles, like the death of unarmed Charly “Africa” Keunang, shot dead by LAPD officers on 1 March in the city’s homeless district of Skid Row, garnered national attention.
But cases like those of Sergio Navas, an unarmed Hispanic man shot dead by LAPD officers in the same month as Keunang, after police said he stole a vehicle and was chased down, have had less media scrutiny. Navas’s family have launched an excessive force lawsuit against the LAPD and accused them of a covering up the circumstances of the 35-year-old’s death.
The Guardian has also monitored whether mental health issues were identified, either by family members, friends or police following each fatal encounter. In total 26% of people killed by police exhibited some sort of mental illness, with at least 29 cases identified where the person killed was suicidal.
For example, Monique Deckard, a black woman with a long history of mental illness, was shot and killed by police officers in Anaheim, California, after she was accused of stabbing a woman at a laundromat and allegedly charging at officers. Her family had called police just hours before the attack, warning that they could not get in contact with her and that she might be trying to find a gun.
The average age of a person killed by police in 2015 was 37, but The Counted identifies a huge diversity in the ages of those killed.
The oldest, 87-year-old Louis Becker, was killed during a collision with a New York state trooper patrol car in upstate New York. Eighty-two-year-old Richard “Buddy” Weaver was killed by Oklahoma City police after he allegedly raised a machete at an officer who opened fire; neighbors later described Weaver as having schizophrenia.
The three youngest people identified were all 16 years old. A’donte Washington, a black American, was shot dead by Millbrook police officers in Arizona on 23 February during an alleged burglary after the teenager was described as pointing a weapon at arriving officers. His family have questioned the police narrative, while the city mayor described the shooting as “110% justified”.
A week earlier, on 14 February, Jason Hendrix, a white 16-year-old was shot dead in a gunfight by Baltimore County police after the teenager murdered his mother, father and sister in Corbin, Kentucky, and drove to Maryland, where he is reported to have opened fire on an officer after a car chase. Six returned fire and killed him.
A month later, on 19 March, black 16-year-old Kendre Alston was shot dead by a deputy of the Jacksonville sheriff’s office in Florida. Police claimed Alston fled from a stolen car and brandished a weapon at the pursuing official who then opened fire. Deneane Campbell, Alston’s mother, claimed in an interview two weeks later she had not been given any further details by police.
Some relatives of people killed by police said they had been unaware of the dearth of publicly available information on police-involved fatalities until their family became affected. Anthony Scott, whose brother Walter was shot dead in April by police officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina, said the lack of public information “came as a surprise”.
“I was not informed, I was not aware, I just had an idea these situations were happening in the United States,” Scott told the Guardian. “The public need to know what is happening and be made more informed. With them being more informed they would be able to react differently, in a positive way, to make changes, to make sure some of these things don’t happen again.”
Join The Counted community on Facebook, follow @thecounted on Twitter and explore the interactive database
Various data charts on link
Report from UN Women claims poor policies and discriminatory attitudes are failing women worldwide and calls for rethink of global economic policy
Monday 27 April 2015 13.04 BST
Women earn on average 24% less than men, work more hours and have less chance of receiving a pension in later life, according to UN Women’s flagship report, which calls for an overhaul of global economic policies to improve women’s lives.
The 2015 progress report, Transforming economies, realising rights, published on Monday, said current economic policies and discriminatory laws and attitudes are failing women in rich and poor countries.
Despite significant progress in overcoming the barriers to equal opportunities, which includes new legislation to support women’s right to work, change has not penetrated deep enough in some countries.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women, said it was “staggering that where we are doing the right thing is more the exception than the rule”.
The report, published as the UN debates the next set of sustainable development goals, found that only half of women over the age of 15 are in the labour force, compared with three-quarters of men considered to be of working age. In poorer countries, 75% of women are employed in informal sector jobs, such as domestic workers, positions not covered by international employment laws and which leave them open to abuse and exploitation.
Some 77 countries still restrict the type of work women can undertake, with bans on night-time work – as was the case until recently in Bolivia – or construction jobs.
At least 80 countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico and South Africa, do not have legislation requiring equal pay for equal work. Over their lifetimes, women in France and Sweden can expect to earn 31% less than men, in Germany 49% less and in Turkey 75% less.
On top of the wage gap in paid work, women on average do almost two-and-a-half times more unpaid care and household work as men. Combining paid and unpaid work, researchers calculated that women in almost all countries work longer hours each day than men.
The report, which drew on existing international data, national figures and policies, as well as on-the-ground interviews, said that while the economic crisis in 2008 had affected the lives of women and men, the resulting cuts in public spending had disproportionately affected women. Austerity measures had “shifted the burden of coping and caring into the household and on to the shoulders of women and girls”.
Although the gender pay gap had narrowed slightly since the crash, this had not translated into a more equal employment landscape. In some countries, the reduced wage gap was due to men’s wages falling more than women’s, which “can hardly be considered progress. Instead of catching up with men, there is a levelling down for all,” it said.
The report, the first UN Women progress report since 2011, also found that sexual harassment in the workplace is still a reality for thousands of women. At least 34 countries do not have legislation banning sexual harassment at work and those that do aren’t doing enough to fully implement them. In the EU, 75% of women who hold managerial or more senior professional positions say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, the report found.
Almost all countries now offer paid maternity leave, although only 63 complied with the International Labour Organisation’s recommendations of a minimum of 14 weeks of leave paid at a rate of at least two-thirds of earnings by governments and employers.
Later in life, women are more likely to live in poverty as they are less likely to contribute to a pension than men. Given the nature of women’s work, they don’t always have spare money to contribute towards a pension scheme if one is available.
The report called on governments to tighten laws to protect women in the workplace. Well-designed and funded social services – such as affordable health and childcare, and improved access to water and sanitation – are needed to improve poverty levels and free up women’s time.
A shift in attitude is required to challenge the traditional role of women as the chief carers of children, argued the report. Social protection measures, such as cash-transfer schemes that have proved successful in parts of Asia and Latin America in alleviating poverty, are also needed.
Mlambo-Ngcuka said that it was not just about finding new money, but also about using existing funds to better support women through paying a minimum wage or investing in affordable, decent childcare. More women in decision-making roles are also required, she said.
“Our public resources are not flowing in the directions where they are most needed, for example, to provide safe water and sanitation, quality healthcare and decent child and elderly care services. Where there are no public services, the deficit is borne by women and girls.”
Barbara Lotti, a programme officer at the women’s fund Mama Cash, said: “The report stresses consistently that social norms are responsible for women’s socio-economic disadvantage in the labour market. Even in countries where formal equality in the form of laws exists, the type of work women perform is undervalued as compared to the jobs that men do, resulting in a gender pay gap.
“It is a big gain to understand the stereotyping of women and the stigma they experience as a crucial factor in women’s access to decent employment. Now more than ever is the time to equip women workers in formal and informal sectors with resources to do their norm-transforming work and thus get at the root causes of the inequality they face.”
Women at work in a village near Udaipur, Rajasthan (India). Photograph: Marco Palladino/Alamy
Tencent and Baidu are only non-US digital media companies in top 10 by revenue, but country has four of top 10 fastest-growing firms, report says
Monday 8 December 2014 14.00 GMT
China is eroding Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent position as the home of the world’s largest internet businesses, with two companies making the top 10 by digital media revenue and four among the fastest-growing, according to new research.
Chinese internet giants Tencent and Baidu were the only non-US headquartered companies to make the top 10 list of the world’s biggest firms as measured by digital media revenues in a survey published on Monday by research and advisory firm Strategy Analytics.
Chinese companies also make up four of the top 10 fastest growing of the 44 firms that are monitored for the survey.
Google’s global ubiquity ensures the search giant leads the list by a huge margin, making an estimated $31.4bn (£20bn) in online revenues in the first half of the year, according to the Strategy Analytics report.
The next biggest company, Amazon, made less than a third than Google, with digital media revenues of $10.3bn in the first six months.
Tencent, which runs social networks, ISPs and online gaming portals in China, overtook Apple’s iTunes ($5.2bn) to rank fourth with $5.4bn in digital media revenues. The Chinese company’s 43% rise in year-on-year revenues put it within touching distance of third-ranked Facebook, which also pulled in $5.4bn.
Search engine Baidu moved past Yahoo – the only one of the world’s top 10 to see a revenue decline year-on-year (eighth, $2.2bn) – to take sixth spot with $3.4bn.
The remainder of the Top 10 is made up of Netflix (seventh, $2.6bn), Yahoo Japan (ninth, $2bn) and Microsoft Online Services (10th, $1.9bn).
“A red-hot Chinese internet market is challenging the historical dominance of US companies,” said Michael Goodman, director of digital media for Strategy Analytics. “The big question, and the key threat to US global dominance, is whether they can translate this success outside China.”
Chinese internet security software firm Qihoo was the fastest grower, with revenues up 123% in the first half to $582m.
Twitter was second, up 122% to $562m, with Facebook third up 66% to $5.4bn.
Chinese firms also managed to take fourth (Baidu up 56% to $3.4bn); seventh (Tencent up 43% to $5.4bn); and 10th (online media company Sina, up 36%)
US companies dominate the rest of the top 10 with music service Pandora fifth, games maker Blizzard Entertainment sixth, Disney eighth and LinkedIn ninth.
“The fact that there are about 2.5 times more Chinese than Americans online is a big factor so they’ve been able to hit such heights solely in a domestic market,” said Goodman. “The Chinese companies have been particularly adept at generating revenues across a variety of sources.”
Robin Li, founder and chief executive of Chinese search engine Baidu. Photograph: JASON LEE/REUTERS
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