Oklahoma finishes 2018 with fourth-most per capita fatal police shootings

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Oklahoma had at least 33 fatal officer-involved shootings in 2018, the second-most the state has seen in more than a decade.

That figure was the fourth-highest per-capita rate in the nation according to an analysis by The Frontier.

It was at least the fifth straight year Oklahoma saw more than 20 fatal officer-involved shootings, and only in 2015, when there were 34 fatal police shootings, has there been a higher total.

Records show that there were fewer than 20 fatal police shootings in each year between 2007-2013, though data on shootings that far back are sparse and it’s unclear if some shootings have possibly fallen between the cracks.

The majority of people fatally shot by police in Oklahoma (19) were white. Six people fatally shot by law enforcement were black, four were Native American, three were Hispanic, and one (Andrew Kana) was Asian.

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While most of those killed by police were white, black Oklahomans were the most likely to be killed in a police shooting on a per-capita basis — white Oklahomans were killed by police at a rate of one out of every 154,195 citizens, while black Oklahomans were killed at a rate of one out of every 51,260 citizens.

Of the 33 people killed by police this year in Oklahoma, only one (Geraldine Townsend, shot and killed by Bartlesville Police in February after she fired at an officer with a BB gun as her son was being arrested) was female.

National rank

Police shootings are notoriously hard to track, though more has been done in recent years as national scrutiny has followed several high-profile officer-involved shootings. Using data compiled by the Washington Post on state-by-state fatal officer-involved shooting totals, then comparing those figures to U.S. Census data, shows that one out of every 110,342 Oklahomans was killed by police this year. Only Alaska (one out of every 101,464,) New Mexico (one out of every 102,960,) and Arizona (one out of every 103,102,) had higher rates. 

Massachusetts, which has nearly 7 million residents, had only three fatal officer-involved shootings this year according to Washington Post data, the best per-capita rate in the nation. Nebraska, which has a population of around 1.9 million had only one fatal officer involved shooting.

New York, which had 16 fatal officer-involved shootings (or one in about 1.2 million) and Rhode Island (which has a population of just over a million people and saw just one fatal shooting in 2018) had rates of better than one per million residents.

California had the most fatal officer involved shootings last year (114), but with more than 39 million residents, the state had a rate of about one fatal shooting per every 340,000 citizens.

Oklahoma City sees most police shootings in the state
More than one out of every five officer-involved shootings last year occurred in Oklahoma City, which had the most police shootings of any agency in Oklahoma.

Eight of those 12 shootings were fatal, records show.

Three of the people killed by Oklahoma City police last year (Chris Stone, Tony Mathis Black, and Haydon Taylor) were black, and four (Daniel Timothy Johnson, Todd Heinen, William Young, and Jason Smith,) were white. Jacob Mohow, the final fatal shooting in Oklahoma last year, was Native American according to Department of Corrections records.

Tulsa police shot four people last year, three of which (Shaunday Mullins, Albert Shae Odom, and Joseph Knight,) were fatal. Odom and Knight were white, and Mullins was black.

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Dylan Goforth

Editor in Chief/Staff Writer

Dylan is a news junkie and QuikTrip addict. He spends too much time on Twitter, but has launched what will be a failed attempt to cut back in 2018. Contact: dylan@readfrontier.com or 918-931-9405.
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