[JURIST] Over 2,000 people died while being arrested [press release] by various US state and local law enforcement officers between 2003 and 2005, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) reported [PDF text; statistics] Thursday, including over 1,000 deaths caused by the law enforcement officers themselves. The report, which was required by the Death in Custody Reporting Act [PDF text], showed a 13 percent increase in the number of deaths from 2003 to 2005. Drugs and alcohol caused 13 percent of the deaths, while suicide, accidental injuries, illnesses and natural causes rounded out the rest of the deaths. Most of the deaths caused by law enforcement officers were gun related deaths, with most of the victims being suspects of violent crime. In addition, 380 law enforcement officers died during arrests over the same time period, most of them accidentally.
The report studied 40 million arrests with the number of arrest-related deaths representing less than one ten-thousandth of one percent of deaths. The DOJ studied the period from the onset of law enforcement officers trying to arrest the suspect until the suspect was booked, with most of the deaths occurring at the scene of arrest. The DOJ used questionnaires, completed by 47 states and the District of Columbia, required by the Death in Custody Reporting Act as a condition for receiving federal correctional grants. The New York Times has more.