For 55 Officers in Fatal Shootings This Year, It Wasn’t Their First Time


Jorge Ramirez Sr., 58, speaks as Xavier Gonzalez, 13, and Nicole Ramirez, 30, look on in Los Angeles. The three are family members of Jorge Ramirez, an unarmed police informant who was killed by police in Bakersfield, Calif., when a wanted man he was with opened fire on officers. (photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Washington Post)
Jorge Ramirez Sr., 58, speaks as Xavier Gonzalez, 13, and Nicole Ramirez, 30, look on in Los Angeles. The three are family members of Jorge Ramirez, an unarmed police informant who was killed by police in Bakersfield, Calif., when a wanted man he was with opened fire on officers. (photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Washington Post)

 

Keith L. Alexander, Amy Brittain, Wesley Lowery, and Sandhya Somashekhar | The Washington Post | Reader Supported News | December 23, 2015

ore than 50 police officers involved in fatal shootings this year had previously fired their guns in deadly on-duty shootings, according to a Washington Post investigation.

For a handful of officers, it was their third fatal shooting. For one officer, it was his fourth.

The findings concerned many law enforcement experts, who said that most officers never fire their weapons on the job. The analysis also exposed another gap in the federal government’s oversight of fatal police shootings nationwide: the absence of a system for tracking multiple shootings by individual officers.

The 55 officers were identified as part of a Post project tracking all fatal shootings by police in the line of duty in 2015. It is the first nationwide attempt to determine whether fatal police shootings are isolated events in an officer’s career or whether some officers repeatedly fire their weapons in deadly encounters.

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