By: John Roberts
The first police killing of 2011 happened shortly after the new year began in the county of Los Angeles, when police killed an armed robber on the second day of the year.
The last person to be killed by the police of that year he was assassinated a few days after Christmas in Palos Verdes after he allegedly beat his old father and wanted to point a gun at officers.
Between these unfortunate bookends, another 52 people across the county were fatally shot by police during 2011 a significantly higher number of police killings that the province usually experiences. Compared to the previous year, the 54 deaths amounted to an increase of almost 70%.
The high number of murders last year highlights a sharp increase in the total number of occasions in which officers fired their weapons against the suspects. For example, the 63 times where police officers shot their weapons in Los Angeles in 2011 was an increase of almost 60% over the previous year.
The rise in killings by the police is even more remarkable because it occurred at a time when the total number of homicides in the area had fallen to historic lows. With 612 people killed in the county last year, almost 1 in 10 of such deaths occurred at the hands of law enforcement officers.