The first national measure of all types of arrest-related deaths shows that 2,002 suspects died while being arrested or while in custody from 2003 through 2005. The reports from states were made under a new program mandated by the federal Death in Custody Reporting Act (Public Law 106-297). Three states did not file.
Of the deaths, 55 percent were caused by police but of those, 80 percent appeared to be a response to the arrest subject reportedly using a weapon to threaten or assault the arresting officer or officers.
The statistics show no evidence of racial bias. "Most persons who died while being arrested were men (96 percent) between the ages of 18 and 44 (77 percent). Approximately 44 percent were white; 32 percent, African American; 20 percent Hispanic and 4 percent of other or multiple races," according the release discussing the findings issued by the Department of Justice.
The report, Arrest-Related Deaths in the United States, 2003-2005 (NCJ-219534), was written by BJS policy analyst Christopher J. Mumola.