The nationwide furor over the growing number of unarmed black men shot dead by police officers in recent months has put the public spotlight on a much bigger trend in the US: Black people are much more likely to be shot and killed by police.
An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox's Dara Lind shows that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population.
Although the data is incomplete, since it's based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force.
Black teens were 21 times more likely than white teens to be shot and killed by police between 2010 and 2012, according to a ProPublica analysis of the FBI data. ProPublica's Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones, and Eric Sagara reported: "One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica's analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring — 185, more than one per week."
The data has gained greater significance following the police shooting of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man, during a routine traffic stop in Cincinnati, Ohio. The white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot DuBose, Ray Tensing, has been charged with murder for the killing. "This is the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. "It's an absolute tragedy in 2015 that anyone would behave in this manner. It was senseless."
The shooting came in the midst of a national firestorm over several high-profile police killings since the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August.
Together, these killings have drawn new attention to racial disparities that have been a part of the criminal justice system for decades.