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LAPD has killed more people than any other agency in 2015, data show

A makeshift memorial for the homeless man who was shot and killed by police on Skid Row is shown on Monday, March 2, 2015.
Rina Palta/KPCC
A makeshift memorial for the homeless man who was shot and killed by police on Skid Row is shown on Monday, March 2, 2015.

The Los Angeles Police Department has killed more people than any other law enforcement agency in the United States this year, according to a database compiled by the Guardian newspaper.

LAPD officers have killed 10 people so far in 2015, according to the Guardian's accounting. That's twice the number killed by deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was tied for second with two other agencies. Nationwide, more than 450 people have been killed by peace officers this year.

The Guardian's data tracks deaths "arising directly from encounters with law enforcement," and was put together through news reports and crowdsourcing. The data is an "imperfect work in progress," the paper writes, given that the federal government does not comprehensively track police killings.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said that it's inaccurate to count two of the deaths in the database. One involved a car accident and another involved an off-duty officer who allegedly murdered a man after a dispute outside a tequila bar in Pomona.

"It's obviously a concern for us when someone puts out misinformation," Smith said.

Smith added that 8 deaths at this point in the year is roughly in line with recent years for the LAPD.

The Guardian's data reveals that several police and Sheriff's departments across the Southland have killed multiple people this year:

Some of those deaths were high-profile, such as the shooting of an unarmed homeless man in Skid Row by LAPD this March. But many other police killings in Southern California haven't attracted the same level of attention.

Among police departments in the country's ten largest cities, Phoenix had the highest rate of police killings, with 2.7 per million residents. Los Angeles was just below that, with 2.6 police killings per million residents.

Rates were lower in New York and Chicago. In the first five months of the year, there were 0.5 police killings per million residents in New York and 0.4 per million in Chicago.

Looking at California more broadly, 74 people have been killed by police, the highest number of any state. The ranking drops to 14th, however, when factoring in the per capita rate; Oklahoma leads the country in per capita police killings.

The data also include some demographic information. They show, for example, that 69 of the 74 killed in California were men.

The deaths are also broken down by race: 27 of those killed were white, 25 were latino, 14 were black and 3 were Asian or Pacific Islanders (5 are listed as "unknown"). The figures show African-Americans were killed at a disproportionate rate compared to other ethnicities: the population of California is 39 percent white, 38 percent Latino and just 6 percent black.

Many of those killed were armed. Twenty-four had lethal firearms, 18 had knives and five were using vehicles as weapons. Nineteen of the 75 killed were unarmed.

This post has been updated.