On Sunday, the release of body camera footage of the police shooting of Ricardo Munoz, a 27-year-old man living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, sparked protests against violence by police. In the graphic footage released by Lancaster District Attorney, Munoz is seen “brandishing a knife above his head” before he is shot and killed by the law enforcement officer on the scene, according to the DA’s office.
As you plan your coverage of the shooting, here are facts about violence by police in Pennsylvania:
- The majority of civilian deaths caused by police are with a firearm. According to Mapping Police Violence, 171 people were killed by police in Pennsylvania between 2013 and 2019, and 96 percent of those people died by police gunfire.
- People of color are disproportionately impacted by police use of force. More than a third of people shot and killed by police in Pennsylvania between 2013 and 2019 were Black or Latino.
- There is police reform legislation on the table in Pennsylvania. Lawmakers, following the leadership of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, can vote on several bills that address use of force by law enforcement. Read more about those proposals here. In June, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 459, which would create record keeping and reporting requirements regarding the use of force by law enforcement officers
- However, in exactly one week lawmakers will return to Harrisburg to instead discuss HB 1747, a dangerous bill that would repeal the ban of open carry by persons without a carry permit during a state of emergency and prevent the governor from restricting or limiting the sale, dispensing or transportation of firearms.
- Use of force policies can help advance safety and promote trust in the police. Meaningful use of force policies encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable. Read more on specific use-of-force policies and how they can save lives in this 2016 study.
After continued inaction by Pennsylvania Republicans in both chambers, Everytown has announced a statewide effort to flip both legislative chambers to gun sense majorities. The effort includes:
- A commitment of at least $1 million before November 3 to flip both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature to a gun sense majority.
- The endorsement of 21 candidates for Pennsylvania State House and Senate.
- Digital ads slamming lawmakers for inaction. View here.
- The launch of Pennsylvania’s new Students Demand Action Virtual Field Office, focused on registering young voters virtually.
If you are interested in speaking with a volunteer with Pennsylvania Moms Demand Action please don’t hesitate to reach out.