The Five Worst US Cities for Police Brutality

The Five Worst US Cities for Police Brutality

If we measure police brutality in terms of where police kill the largest number of unarmed individuals, without the officers being held accountable, the top five cities are:

  • New York (New York)
  • Phoenix (Arizona)
  • Los Angeles (California)
  • Jacksonville (Florida)
  • Chicago (Illinois)

Data is from, which “has been meticulously sourced from the three largest, most comprehensive and impartial crowdsourced databases on police killings in the country:, the U.S. Police Shootings Database and,” according to their website.

These five cities have the largest number of officers who shot and killed someone who was provenly (not just allegedly) unarmed and were either never charged or acquitted of all charges, between January 2013 and June 2017.

These are, thus, the five US cities were common citizens are the least safe, as police routinely use excessive force and the justice system fails to protect victims and discipline the culprits.

In terms of police departments that are responsible for the most killings per million of inhabitants, the infamous top six are:

  • St Louis Police Department (Missouri)
  • Orlando PD (Florida)
  • Oklahoma PD (Oklahoma)
  • Bakersfield PD (California)
  • Stockton PD (California)
  • Phoenix PD (Arizona)

When crossing data from both lists, it becomes clear that California and Florida are among the most dangerous states in terms of police violence. Stockton is also in the top 10 for most dangerous US cities in terms of violent crime rates. St. Louis is only second to Detroit in that category.

The Mapping Police Violence site also reveals that the cities where police kill the most unarmed black people are:

  • New York
  • Jacksonville
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Baltimore
  • Phoenix

But shootings and killings are not the only form of police brutality. Recent Justice Department reports have revealed that police routinely use excessive force against suspects in Ferguson, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Portland.

One thing statistics from both the DOJ and independent organizations make abundantly clear is that police brutality is pervasive all over the US. According to Mapping Police Violence´s 2015 report, the only US city that had 0 police killings that year was Riverside, CA.

One example of a police department that has implemented successful policies to reduce police brutality and killings is Salt Lake City PD.

Once infamous for its excessive use of force, the capital of Utah is now a model of what they call de-escalation. Among other things, Salt Lake City´s police officers have been trained to empathize and better communicate with suspects.

The result: there wasn´t a single killing there between September 2015 and May 2017. In September, 2017, a parolee was killed after he grabbed an officer´s baton and beat him with it, in what was described as “a very violent” situation, where many alternatives were used before resorting to using a gun.

In spite of that isolated incident, Salt Lake City Police Department has done things Oklahoma PD, LAPD and others should imitate. In fact, police departments that have adopted policies to reduce police brutality have all succeeded in reducing the use of excessive force.

Of 91 police departments reviewed by the Police Use of Force Project, only 34 require law enforcement officers to “de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force,” according to a 2016 report.

Data compiled by the Police Use of Force Project has also revealed that there is no direct connection between the violent crime rate of a city and the level of police brutality, and that officers from police departments that implement de-escalation are less likely to be injured in the line of duty.

The problem of police brutality is solely a matter of policy. It is up to communities to demand increasing accountability and efficient brutality prevention policies from their elected representatives.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of police brutality, do not hesitate to contact our civil rights and wrongful jail death law firm. Our attorneys are known advocates against police brutality, with a track record of holding bad cops accountable and maximizing compensation for victims and their families. 866.836.4684 or Connect online


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