Factors associated with police shooting mortality: A focus on race and a plea for more comprehensive data


Objectives. To quantify nonfatal injurious police shootings of people and examine the factors associated with victim mortality. Methods. We gathered victim-level data on fatal and nonfatal injurious police shootings from four states that have such information publicly available: Florida (2009-14), Colorado (2010-19), Texas (2015-19), and California (2016-19). For each state, we examined bivariate associations between mortality and race/ethnicity, gender, age, weapon, and access to trauma care. We also estimated logistic regression models predicting victim mortality in each state. Results. Forty-five percent of these police shooting victims (N=1,322) did not die. Black-white disparities were more pronounced in nonfatal injurious police shootings than in fatal police shootings. Overall, Black victims were less likely than white victims to die from their wound(s). Younger victims were less likely to die from their wound(s), as well as those who were unarmed. Conclusions. Racial and age disparities in police shootings are likely more pronounced than previous estimates suggest. Policy Implications. Other states should strongly consider compiling data like that which is currently being gathered in California. Absent data on nonfatal injurious police shootings – which account for a large share of deadly force incidents – researchers and analysts must be cautious about comparing and/or ranking jurisdictions in terms of their police-involved fatality rates.

PLOS ONE, 16(11)

Click here to read a short summary of the findings.

Click the Cite button above to import publication metadata into your reference management software.
Justin Nix
Justin Nix
Distinguished Associate Professor

My research centers on policing with emphases on procedural justice, legitimacy, and police shootings.