Police shootings in the US: who is getting killed?

Warning: video contains graphic footage. Another unarmed black man shot dead by a white police officer

A reserve sheriff's deputy has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after shooting dead an unarmed black man in Oklahoma.

Eric Harris was killed after Bob Bates allegedly mistook his gun for his Taser during a sting operation. In the video, Bates is heard saying: "Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry." Harris falls to the ground, shouting "oh God, he shot me, I didn't do s***".

In the footage, which was filmed on a police body camera, officers attempt to restrain Harris when he says "I'm losing my breath." An officer replies: "F*** your breath."

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Bates, a millionaire insurance executive, has been accused by the victim's family of being a “pay to play cop" who was allowed to tag along on police operations after he made a donation to the police department, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"When you're the law, I guess you feel like you can do things and get away with it and not get exposed," Harris' brother Andre told local reporters. "Well, we've come to expose it. We've come to pull a mask off the evil."

This is the latest in series of high-profile shootings of black men by white police officers in the United States. Last week, police officer Michael Slager was charged with murdering Walter Scott, after video footage emerged of him shooting the unarmed man several times in the back as he ran away.

How the US compares to the rest of the world?

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Official numbers provided by the FBI are considered to be huge underestimates, as police forces are not required to report the number of people killed by their officers. Out of the country's 17,000+ local law enforcement agencies, roughly 800 forces report the number of people shot dead by police officers.

The most accurate counts are currently compiled by activists and journalists, The Guardian reports. The activist group Killed By Police collates data from media sources across the country and reports that the actual number of deaths in 2013 was 768. In 2014, at least 1,100 people were killed by police. This year alone, 328 people have lost their lives. A report by Operation Ghetto Storm estimates that one African American is killed by police, security guards or vigilantes "every 28 hours”.

Who is getting killed?

Young black males are 21 times more likely to get shot dead by police than their white counterparts, an investigation by Pro Publica revealed last year. "[The figures] support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population," it reports.

Are the police officers prosecuted?

A grand jury's failure to indict white Officer Darren Wilson, who shot dead black teenager Michael Brown, sparked widespread protests in Ferguson, Missouri, but its decision was not unique. Over the last decade, out of the thousands of police shootings that have occurred across the US, only 54 police officers have been prosecuted, a Washington Post investigation revealed.

In the "overwhelming majority" of shootings, the person they killed was unarmed. Most of the police officers escaped conviction, and even when convicted, their sentences were minimal, with some serving just weeks behind bars.

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