The shooting of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson is neither the first nor most recent instance in which an unarmed black man has been fatally shot by a police officer. It is impossible to enumerate exactly how many others have shared Brown’s fate in recent years.
That’s because there’s no central organization that keeps records of this. Media outlets have cited more than 400 individuals killed by police a year, but this data—reported by the FBI in their annual Supplementary Homicide Report, an account compiled by information voluntarily provided by local law enforcement—is wholly incomplete (according to the Washington Post, only 750 out of the country’s more than 17,000 police departments participated in 2012).
In Ferguson, much of the narrative surrounding Brown’s death has centered on him being black and unarmed. These aspects were also points of contention in the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot while cuffed on Jan. 1, 2009 by Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer Johannes Mehserle. Like Brown, Grant’s death made headlines worldwide. The 2013 film Fruitvale Station was an adaptation of Grant’s story.
At least 22 other unarmed black men have been killed by police since 2000, according to media reports. And while this list is not intended to be exhaustive (Deadspin is working on a database of every officer-involved shooting in the U.S.) if the protests in Ferguson are to be believed, it is illustrative of a broader picture.
Infographic sources: The New York Times, CBS News, Las Vegas Sun, The Village Voice, New Orleans Times-Picayune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, KATU, KTLA, Orange County Register, WACH, Pasadena Star-News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Charlotte Observer, ABC 13, Los Angeles Times