Deaths reported from 2005 - 2014
This data shows deaths in the field during the process of arrest or in transit. It includes incidents while the subject was in an officer's physical custody or under restraint (even if not formally under arrest) or killed by use of force. Police departments are responsible for patrolling most cities (around two-thirds of CA's population) and account for around three quarters of all arrests. County sheriff's departments and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) patrol other areas. Slightly less than 20% of total deaths in custody occurred during this stage.
What was the manner of death?
How have these numbers changed over time?
The seeming increase in arrest-related deaths in custody was due to the expansion in 2003 of the federal reporting requirements to include the process of arrest in Death in Custody & Arrest-Related Deaths data. Arrest-related deaths were underreported in subsequent years as agencies adjusted to the new requirement and prior to a late 2005 reporting form revision.
Deaths Per Agency Over Time
What agency types accounted for the deaths reported?
Local police accounted for over two-thirds of deaths that were arrest-related (70%), with county sheriff's departments accounting for the second largest share (21%).
What type of offense did the individual commit or was arrested for?
Over 75% of arrest-related deaths occurred among persons who committed a violent felony.
How old were those who died?
The average age of those who died due to arrest-related homicide by law enforcement staff was 34 years old. Among accidental deaths, the average age was 37 years old.
What was the race/ethnicity of those who died?
For arrest-related deaths, Hispanics accounted for the largest share (41%), followed by Whites (32%) and Blacks (21%).
How does the race/ethnicity of those who died compare to other statewide statistics?
Blacks accounted for approximately 21% of arrest-related deaths, 6% of the state's resident population, and 17% of the arrest population. When compared to the state population, Blacks accounted for arrest-related deaths at a rate that was 3.59 greater than expected (21% divided by 6%). When using the arrest population as a benchmark, this ratio drops to 1.26. Much of the disproportionate representation was therefore attributed to the relatively high arrest rate for Blacks. No other racial/ethnic group was notably overrepresented.