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TBI report: Law enforcement-related civilian deaths up

Johnson City Press • Mar 31, 2020 at 9:00 PM

The number of people who died during an encounter with police nearly doubled from 58 in 2018 to 96 in 2019, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in annual reports published on the topic.

There were 30 deadly use of force incidents reported in 2019, compared to 28 in 2018. White subjects accounted for 71.4 percent compared to black or African American subjects, which accounted for 21.4 percent.

None of the use of deadly force reports happened in the immediate area.

“It’s a police of our department that anytime an officer is involved in use of deadly force, whether on duty or off duty, it is investigated to determine if the actions conform with state law, department polices, procedures rules and training,” said Brian Rice, acting Johnson City Police major of operations.

Among the report’s findings:

• In 2019, a total of 96 law enforcement-related deaths were reported by 22 different law enforcement agencies and 26 facilities in Tennessee.

• 30 incidents (32.7 percent) met the reporting criteria of deadly use of force by a law enforcement officer.

• Approximately half (46.7 percent) of reported deadly use of force incidents in 2019 occurred in a residence.

• White subjects accounted for 71.4 percent of deadly use of force incidents. Black/African American subjects accounted for 21.4 percent.

By comparison, in 2018 the findings reported were:

• In 2018, a total of 180 law enforcement-related deaths were reported by 22 police agencies and 36 facilities in Tennessee. Of the 180 reported deaths, 28 incidents met the reporting criteria of deadly use of force by a police officer, a 16.7 percent increase from 2017. Most incidents occurred during the second half of 2018.

• 42.9 percent deadly use of force incidents occurred predominantly in residence/home locations.

• Whites accounted for 62.1percent compared to blacks or African Americans at 37.9 percent.

In the 2018 report, illness was listed as the most common cause of death in Tennessee at 66.2 percent. Suicides made up 11.5 percent.

By comparison, Illness-related deaths also topped the chart in 2019 and constituted 56.9% of the reported types of causes for the year. Suicides made up 18.5%.

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