Over 500 People Have Been Shot and Killed by U.S. Police This Year

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Police violence continues to rock the country and fuel debate

1. Death By Cop, Let's Look At The Numbers

The Short of It:

This week, two police shootings have ended in the death of two black men: 37-year-old Alton Sterling and 32-year-old Philando Castile. The death toll of black men being killed by police is a climbing number.

The Longer Verson of It:

Early Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge Louisiana, two officers responded to a call about a man in a convenience store threatening shoppers with a gun. After confronting 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man and father of 5, the police took Sterling to the ground and soon after shot him several times while he was on his back. The Baton Rouge Police Department claims that amidst the altercation the body cameras worn by the two officers fell off, however the details of the events that followed that night were captured by a witness in a video recording.

Just one day later in Minnesota, Diamond Reynolds used Facebook Livestream to explain how a police officer shot her boyfriend, Philando Castile, as he laid dying next to her in the driver's seat. The car was pulled over for a broken taillight. Castile was a a supervisor at a local Montessori school.

As news outlets and supporters attempt to piece together what had happened in the altercations, the aftermath of both shootings ring all too familiar to the beginnings of protests that broke out in the wake of the deaths of the black men in Baltimore, Cleveland and Ferguson who died a the hands of police violence.

The Takeaway, Social Media and Counting The Numbers:

By now, as a country, we've grown accustomed to the grainy and disturbing footage of black people being fatally shot popping up in our news feeds. The images call attention to the severe inequalities in regards to respect for human life that plague the country. Technology has a played a huge role in driving the national conversation about the grave consequences of bigotry and racial profiling, which so all too often result in fatality. Last year, the country was rocked by protests and calls for action that started with videos, posts on Facebook and tweets and where images and camera footage of police shootings continue to regularly go viral. The Black Lives Matter movement found its initial march in social media and continues to pursue online activism and tackle police brutality. As social media sites and technology continue to steer the conversation of police violence against black people, they also alter the way we understand the realities of the relationship between the black community and the ongoing threat of the police force. Most importantly they collectively reveal how important this form of documentation is as a means of protection.

According the The Washington Post's catalog of every fatal shooting by a police officer the country, 509 people have been shot and killed by the police just this year. You can keep track of the increasing numbers here.

SHARE with your friends and family interested in the ongoing national conversation.