Skip to main content

Lethal Force Usage by Law Enforcement Officers Against Hispanics, 2011–2020


Most research on lethal force by law enforcement officers (LEOs) has focused on firearm deaths by LEOs among certain racial groups (e.g., African Americans). Specifically, not much is known about LEOs-induced lethal injuries among Hispanics. The purpose of this study was to characterize LEOs induced fatal injuries, the methods used, among various demographic groups of Hispanics, and the years of potential life lost before the age of 80 years due to lethal force by LEOs. Data from the Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) were analyzed for the years 2011–2020. LEOs killed 1,158 Hispanics; most were males (96.2%) with the majority being shot (89.9%). Two-thirds (66.9%) of those killed were Hispanics 20–39 years of age and from the Western U.S. These Hispanic deaths resulted in 53,320 YPLLs. Males and those ages 20–39 years lost the most YPLLs. The rate of fatal encounters with LEOs for Hispanics grew by 44.4% over the decade, with the highest rate in 2020. Mitigation of unnecessary Hispanic deaths by LEOs needs to include changes in law enforcement agency policies, hiring practices for LEOs, improved data collection for LEOs use of lethal force, improved mental healthcare and training for LEOs, use of less lethal strategies for citizen control by law enforcement, deference education for all young adults, and long-term changes in social forces that have created and maintained disenfranchised communities of color.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Zimring, F. E. (2017). When police kill (pp. 274–290). Harvard University Press.

  2. Hehman, E., Flake, J. K., & Calanchini, J. (2018). Disproportionate use of lethal force in policing is associated with regional racial biases of residents. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 9(4), 393–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Peeples, L. (2019). What the data say about police shootings. Nature, 573(7772), 24–26.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. DeGue, S., Fowler, K. A., & Calkins, C. (2016). Deaths due to use of lethal force by law enforcement: Findings from the national violent death reporting system, 17 US states, 2009–2012. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(5), S173–S187.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Edwards, F., Lee, H., & Esposito, M. (2019). Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(34), 16793–16798.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Lett, E., Asabor, E. N., Corbin, T., & Boatright, D. (2021). Racial inequity in fatal US police shootings, 2015–2020. Journal of Epidemiol Community Health, 75(4), 394–397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. GBD 2019 Police Violence US Subnational Collaborators. (2021). Fatal police violence by race and state in the USA, 1980–2019: A network meta-regression. Lancet, 398(10307), 1239–1255.

    Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Zimmerman, G. M., Fridel, E. E., Sheppard, K. G., & Lawshe, N. L. (2021). Contextualizing fatal police-resident encounters with a focus on hispanic or latin american places: Does macro-level racial and ethnic composition distinguish resident fatalities by the police and police fatalities by residents? Journal of Criminal Justice, 72, 101749.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Leslie, T. F., Frankenfeld, C. L., & Hattery, A. J. (2022). Differentiating Black and Hispanic: Outcome differences of segregated communities and police shootings in the USA, 2015–2020. Injury Epidemiology, 9(1), 1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Miller, T. R., Lawrence, B. A., Carlson, N. N., Hendrie, D., Randall, S., Rockett, I. R., & Spicer, R. S. (2017). Perils of police action: A cautionary tale from US data sets. Injury Prevention, 23(1), 27–32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS): Fatal injury reports, National, Regional and State, 1981–2020. Retrieved March 20th, 2023, from

  12. Price, J. H., & Khubchandani, J. (2022). Firearm mortality among pre-school Age Children, 2010–2020. Journal of Community Health, 1–6,

  13. Kim, H. J., Fay, M. P., Feuer, E. J., & Midthune, D. N. (2000). Permutation tests for Joinpoint regression with applications to cancer rates. Statistics in Medicine, 19(3), 335–351.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Bui, A. L., Coates, M. M., & Matthay, E. C. (2018). Years of life lost due to encounters with law enforcement in the USA, 2015–2016. Journal of Epidemiol Community Health, 72(8), 715–718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Klein, J., Prabhakaran, K., Latifi, R., & Rhee, P. (2022). Firearms: The leading cause of years of potential life lost.Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open, 7(1), e000766.

  16. US Census Bureau (2022). The Hispanic Population in the United States: 2019. Retrieved March 6th, 2023, from,

  17. Pew Research Center (2022). Hispanics/ Latinos. Retrieved March 16th, 2023 from

  18. We Are All Human (2020). The Hispanic Perception study, 2020. Retrieved January 9th, 2023, from

  19. Johnson, T. L., Johnson, N. N., Sabol, W. J., & Snively, D. T. (2022). Law Enforcement Agencies’ College Education hiring requirements and racial differences in police-related fatalities. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 37(3), 681–698.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. McElvain, J. P., & Kposowa, A. J. (2008). Police officer characteristics and the likelihood of using deadly force. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 35(4), 505–521.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Thomas, M. D., Reeves, A. N., Jewell, N. P., Michaels, E. K., & Allen, A. M. (2021). US law enforcement policy predictors of race-specific police fatalities during 2015–16.PloS One, 16(6), e0252749.

  22. Kramer, R., & Remster, B. (2022). The slow violence of contemporary policing. Annual Review of Criminology, 5, 43–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Marcus, N., & Stergiopoulos, V. (2022). Re-examining mental health crisis intervention: A rapid review comparing outcomes across police, co‐responder and non‐police models. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(5), 1665–1679.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Jennings, J. T., & Rubado, M. E. (2017). Preventing the use of deadly force: The relationship between police agency policies and rates of officer-involved gun deaths. Public Administration Review, 77(2), 217–226.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Sousa, W., Ready, J., & Ault, M. (2010). The impact of TASERs on police use-of-force decisions: Findings from a randomized field-training experiment. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 6, 35–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Moore-Berg, S., Karpinski, A., & Plant, E. A. (2017). Quick to the draw: How suspect race and socioeconomic status influences shooting decisions. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 47(9), 482–491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Loftin, C., McDowall, D., & Xie, M. (2017). Underreporting of homicides by police in the United States, 1976–2013. Homicide Studies, 21(2), 159–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Feldman, J. M., Gruskin, S., Coull, B. A., & Krieger, N. (2017). Quantifying underreporting of law-enforcement-related deaths in United States vital statistics and news-media-based data sources: A capture–recapture analysis.PLoS Medicine, 14(10), e1002399.

Download references


This research received no external funding.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to James H. Price.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Price, J.H., Khubchandani, J. Lethal Force Usage by Law Enforcement Officers Against Hispanics, 2011–2020. J Community Health 48, 819–823 (2023).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: