Snapshot: the last 20 years of law enforcement activities in the United States

  • 1,500,000 Civilians have been injured during contact with law enforcement.

  • 8,768 At least 8,678 civilians have been killed by law enforcement officers.

  • 300,000 Law enforcement officers have been injured after experiencing an assault on the job.


What we do

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others have sparked outcry around the world. But most cases go unrecognized by the media and general public; every day in the United States, people like Floyd and Taylor are injured or killed during law enforcement activities. While police activities broadly impact many lives, Black men are far more likely to be stopped, detained, arrested, injured and killed by police, which has been a key driver of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for police reform which date back more than 100 years.

Our Law Enforcement Epidemiology Project aims to build a comprehensive surveillance system to better characterize the magnitude of civilian and law enforcement injuries that occur each year in the U.S. and to guide policy reform that addresses police use of force tactics and strategies to build community trust in the police.

Learn quick facts about the impact of police shootings and injuries

Project Goals

We aim to povide surveillance data for the U.S., Illinois and Chicago on civilians injured during interactions with law enforcement and officers injured on the job. Because comprehensive data on civilian non-fatal and fatal injuries caused during interactions with law enforcement is lacking in the U.S., this site primarily focuses on civilian injuries.
  • Surveillance

    Establish an active and sustainable surveillance program that will serve as a model for other states across the country.

  • Reporting

    Identify barriers to reporting.

  • Analysis

    Describe long-term impacts on individuals following an injury caused by law enforcement personnel.

  • Recommendations

    Develop policy recommendations for police reform.

In one year in the U.S...

  • More than 50 million persons in the U.S. have contact with police during a traffic stop, street stop, arrest, traffic accident or resident initiated contact, and 1 million experience use of or threat of force.
  • 15% of civilians who experience police threat or use of force are injured.
  • Nearly 250,000 civilian injuries are caused by law enforcement, and over 80,000 people suffer non-fatal injuries requiring hospitalization.
  • More than 600 people are killed by law enforcement.
  • African-American males make up 6.1% of the total U.S. population but 24.9% of all persons killed by law enforcement.
Civilian Data

In Illinois in a given year...

  • 10-20 civilians are killed by law enforcement.  Since 2015, between 60-108 people have died in interactions with law enforcement.
  • An average of 1500 people each year will require medical care in a hospital setting following injuries caused by law enforcement.  70-100 people experience serious injuries.
  • African Americans, persons with motor disabilities and individuals with psychiatric conditions are more likely to be injured, suffer severe injuries and be killed during contact with law enforcement.
  • African-American males make up 6.6% of the state’s population but comprise 53.3% of all persons killed by law enforcement.

In Chicago in one year...

  • About 500 people each year require medical care in a hospital setting following injuries caused by law enforcement.
  • About 10 people are killed by law enforcement.
  • Of those seeking care following an injury by law enforcement, 77.3% are discharged home and only 18.3% are discharged to the care of law enforcement.
  • In the past 10 years, the City of Chicago has paid out about $500 million in taxpayer money in civil suits for wrongful death, excessive force, false arrest, illegal detention, illegal search and seizure, civil rights violations and property damage.
Civilian Data

Law enforcement personnel in a given year,

Officer at traffic stop
  • As of 2019, over 1.2 million were employed as law enforcement personnel in the U.S. which includes parking enforcement, bailiffs, correctional officers, game wardens, transit police, federal and state police, county sheriffs and municipal police. The mean annual wage is $65,000.
  • Approximately 18,000 are injured after being assaulted on the job, these do not include injuries caused during routine employment (falls, slips, motor vehicle collisions, etc.)
  • Approximately 50-70 are feloniously killed by civilians with another 40-70 killed from other work-related causes (e.g. motor vehicle collisions or being struck by vehicle).
  • While workers’ compensation data is not widely available, our past research demonstrates that the number of law enforcement injured on the job is substantially higher than the number resulting from assaults or pursuits, with many of these injuries resulting in permanent disability.