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Frontline, AP documentary investigates deaths from police use of force

On this edition of Your Call's Media Roundtable, we discuss Documenting Police Use of Force, a Frontline and Associated Press documentary about deaths that occurred after police used tactics like prone restraint and other "less-lethal force."

The documentary and accompanying reporting draws on police records, autopsy reports, and body cam footage, offering the most expansive tally of such deaths nationwide.

Based on the data they gathered from 2012 through 2021, they found 1,036 deaths that involved police using some kind of less-lethal force—a fraction of the overall police contacts with the population, but still an average of about two per week nationwide.

These sorts of deadly encounters happened just about everywhere. The toll, however, disproportionately fell on Black Americans. Black people made up a third of those who died despite representing only 12 percent of the US population.


Serginho Roosblad, co-producer, writer, and director of Documenting Police Use of Force, and Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker


AP: Why did more than 1,000 people die after police subdued them with force that isn’t meant to kill?

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.