According to the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings, 990 people were killed in 2015. In Germany, ten people were killed by police last year, according to a report on Thursday by publishing group Funke Mediengruppe, citing figures from the German Police University.
That means that while the population of the US is roughly four times that of Germany, the number of fatal police shootings there is about 100 times greater.
So far this year, 706 people have been killed by police in the US, according to the Washington Post. And by just January 5th of this year, more people (13) had been killed by police in the US than Germany’s total for all of last year.
The Funke Mediengruppe did note that the number of people killed by police had risen by three people in 2015 over 2014.
But the number of people injured by German police had dropped from 30 people in 2014 to 22 in 2015.
Germany’s largest state, North-Rhine Westphalia with a population of nearly 18 million, saw three police-caused deaths, while the city-state of Hamburg saw none.
In the US, in comparison, about three people per day were killed last year.
Charlotte, North Carolina has seen intense protests this week in reaction to one of the latest police shootings of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.
Police reportedly were searching for another man when they came upon Scott, who they said had gotten out of a car with a handgun. Police said he refused to drop his weapon and was subsequently fatally shot by an officer.
Scott’s family members have said that he was disabled, that he had no gun and that he was reading a book in his car, waiting for his son to arrive on the school bus.
In Germany when an officer uses their firearm against someone, protocol calls for the incident to always be investigated for whether the action was proportionate to the threat. Most of the time, Funke Mediengruppe reports, officers fire their weapons in self defence. In one instance last year, an officer fatally shot someone to stop a crime.
Debate was sparked across Germany in July about officers’ decision to shoot and kill a 17-year-old from Afghanistan who attacked passengers on a train with an axe in Würzburg, Bavaria.
One Green party politician stirred up intense anger when she questioned why the officers hadn’t shot to simply disable the teen.
The state’s interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, praised the officers’ actions to prevent “further terrible acts”.
Standard procedure though called for an internal investigation into the use of firearms.