Police nationwide shot and killed nearly 1,000 people last year, according to an ongoing Washington Post database that tracks such fatal incidents.
The Post on Friday reported that 2017 marked the third year in a row about 1,000 people died in police-involved shootings.
Police fatally shot 987 people last year, or about 24 more than they did the year before in similar circumstances.
The Post began tallying the number of fatal shootings by police in 2015, and the newspaper has since tabulated 2,945 total deaths via local news reports, public records and social media.
Experts told The Post that they remain uncertain why the annual total shows little change year-to-year.
Some believe the number may correspond to the number of instances when police encounter people, an outcome of statistical probability.
Others noted that they are examining whether the number relates to overall violence in American society.
“The numbers indicate that this is not a trend, but a robust measure of these shootings,” said Geoff Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina who studies police use of force.
“We now have information on almost 3,000 shootings, and we can start looking to provide the public with a better understanding of fatal officer-involved shootings.”
Police use of force remains a major topic in the U.S. since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white law officer in 2014.
Michael Brown’s death after encountering Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri sparked national protests and ultimately birthed the Black Lives Matter movement.
The resulting outcry prompted many police agencies across the nation to reexamine how they approach using force.
The Post’s database found that police killed 19 unarmed black men last year, preceded by 17 in 2017 and 36 in 2015.
Data showed that black males made up 22 percent of all people shot and killed in 2017, despite representing 6 percent of total U.S. population.