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Journalist Wesley Lowery Covers Police Shootings for Washington Post

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Wesley Lowery covers Black Lives Matter, law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He has become a national expert on police shootings.

The Washington Post, for the first time in history, is keeping statistics on police shootings in the U.S.  As of today, 522 citizens have been shot and killed by police in 2016.  Of that group, 128 people were blacks, according to Lowery.

That is about one shooting death per day of a black person by police, Lowery says.

“Blacks make up between 12 and 13 percent of the population yet they account for nearly 25 percent of the deaths by police shootings,” Lowery says.

“American citizens are killed by police about three times a week,” Lowery notes.  In 2015, the Washington Post found 990 police shootings resulting in deaths.  This year, reporters expect over 1,000 deaths, according to Lowery. By comparison, police are killed by gunshots at a rate of about one per week.

Mental illness and traffic stops are two common threads to the shootings of blacks by police.  About 1 in 4 people killed by police have some form of mental illness and are not hospitalized. This means that often police officers are forced to become “social workers with guns,” Lowery says.  Also, repeated traffic stops often have created situations that have triggered shootings.

Lowery was part of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize team at the Washington Post for “Breaking News.”  He was also given the 2014 “Emerging Journalist of the Year” award by the National Association of Black Journalists.  In 2015, he was given the “Best Journalist” Shorty Award for his use of social media.

He has written reports for the Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Columbus Dispatch.  His political analysis has been published in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and several online publications.

This November, his new book, They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of #blacklivesmatter, is expected to be published by Little, Brown and Company.

Lowery is spending this week covering “outside” demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Lowery is an alumnus of the Scripps College of Communication and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

Wesley Lowery

Photo credit: The Washington Post