Violence and the police 

 

Even amid the tumult of the presidential election, the vexing issue of shootings involving police officers remained at the forefront of the national debate.

Some cases rose to particular prominence, but it was a cascade of tragic events in early July that raised fears that the U.S. could be on the brink of serious disorder.

First, Alton Sterling was shot dead at close range while being held on the ground by police in Baton Rouge, La. on July 5. Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., the following evening. Both Sterling and Castile were African-American.

Just one night later, at the end of an otherwise peaceful protest against police violence in Dallas, a man ambushed and shot at police officers, killing five and wounding nine. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, had reportedly expressed hatred of police, and of white officers in particular.

In December, a mistrial was declared in the case of Michael Slager, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in North Charleston, S.C. Scott was running away from Slager at the time.

As of Dec. 30, according to a database maintained by The Washington Post, 957 people have been shot and killed by police in the United States in 2016. Preliminary figures from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund indicate that 64 police officers were killed in firearms-related incidents in the line of duty.

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