Last weekend, several outlets reported the fatal shootings of two Black men in Indianapolis: Dorian Murrell, an 18-year-old, and Chris Beaty, a 38-year-old who had played offensive lineman at Indiana University. The shootings are yet another example of the disproportionate impact that gun violence has on Black people and communities of color in America.
“Indianapolis is still mourning the death of Dreasjon ‘Sean’ Reed, who was shot and killed by a police officer in May,” said Jennifer Haan, a volunteer leader with the Indiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Now, two more families are suffering an unimaginable loss. We are demanding that lawmakers make legislative changes to help prevent gun violence and police brutality in Indiana.”
“Black lives matter,” said Dylan Sciscoe, a volunteer with Indiana Students Demand Action. “It is long past time for us to address the systemic injustices that lead to the disproportionate impact of gun violence and police shootings on Black people in America. We are committed to working in solidarity with our partners and other advocates that have been fighting against these crises for years.”
These shootings come during a time when across Indiana and the United States people are protesting the disproportionate impact of gun violence and police use of force on Black people in America. Black people in America are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and 124 people have been fatally shot by police between 2013 and 2019 in Indiana.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities. Black Americans represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S. and are far more likely than white Americans to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence.
In Indiana, Black people are 14 times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide. Information about gun violence in Indiana is available here.