THE PEOPLE'S VIGIL
According to the numbers calculated from the Washington Post Database statistics:
- TOTAL people shot and killed in 2019 & 2020: 1456 (1004 in 2019; 452 in 2020)
- Of the TOTAL people shot and killed in 2019 & 2020 (1456 people):
- 20 percent (291 people) race is unknown
- 39 percent (562 people) are white
- 41 percent (604 people) are POC
- Of the TOTAL KNOWN race for 2019 & 2020 (1166 people):
- 52 percent are POC
- 48 percent are white
- The majority of known race people killed in 2019 & 2020 are POC
"TK” is journalism speak for “to come.” Information either not yet known, or not yet able to be shared on record. So what, with the names of those murdered by police, is to come? Names? Justice? The end of police brutality in a racist country? Without names, these victims of police fatalities are mere numbers, the history of state-sanctioned violence around the world upheld.
According to further investigation, there are several reasons why these names have been left TK, to come: there is an ongoing investigation and names are not known; there is an ongoing investigation and names are not being publicly released—“the identity…is being withheld during the investigation”; the family has asked names to be withheld from the press; or the names have been identified publicly in the media, but the database has not been updated accordingly.
Of the 95 names on this list from 2019 and 2020 that were left TK, 23 were able to be identified. Of the remaining, 68 have searchable media coverage; 7 remain unable to be identified or found.
In the media coverage of these 95 incidents, there are consistent refrains. “The suspect died.” “The investigation is ongoing.” The victim identified only as a suspect, even in death. “No officers were injured.” “The officers were not hurt.” The stories consistently center around law enforcement, deputies, sheriffs, police, rather than the victims of fatalities. “Officer-involved shooting.” “Deputy-involved.” A hyphen, making law enforcement an adjective, a linguistic altercation. An attempt to trick us from what we know to be true: that we live in a country and world indoctrinated by racism and white supremacy, and as long as we protect the language of the violence, we continue to protect the violence itself. Even if their names and identities are TK—to come—their legacies are ongoing, justice is demanded, liberation must come.
-- C.R. June 5, 2020