There were gunshots, tear gas and burning buildings overnight in Ferguson, Missouri, after the news broke that a white policeman will not face criminal charges for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager.
Officer Darren Wilson claims he gunned down Michael Brown after the 18-year-old lunged at him and grabbed his pistol. Lawyers for Brown’s family say the young man was trying to surrender and had his hands up. Eyewitness accounts differ.
The issue has provoked angry accusations that police in the US are prone to use excessive force and target black people disproportionately. What does the evidence say?
There are a number of sources of official statistics on police killings in America. None of them is perfect, but all of them agree that black people are more likely to die at the hands of police officers than whites. (more…)