Of that total, 92 percent were police shootings, with tasers, physical force and police vehicles accounting for the remainder of the deaths, a study from Mapping Police Violence shows.
At least 48 police officers involved in shootings last year had shot or killed someone once before, while 12 other cops had either shot or killed multiple people before.
Speaking with Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Abraham Marquez, a community organizer and activist, called the numbers upsetting.
"It's a really sad number to see," Marquez said. "In 2017, for police training, they spent seven times as many hours training to shoot than they did training to de-escalate any situation."
"It kind of tells you what their role is when they come to any kind of situation," he added.
According to The Root, more people died from police violence in 2017 than the total number of African-Americans who were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow, 1892, when 161 people were killed. In 2017, 278 African Americans were killed by the police, 49 of them unarmed. People of color were more likely than whites to be killed by police while unarmed or unarmed and not attacking.
Despite making up only 13 percent of the US population, 27 percent of police killings were of African Americans, Mapping Police Violence found.
The outlet also noted that more Americans died at the hands of the men in blue than at those of mass shooters, terrorists and Chicago's "top gang thugs."
For Marquez, the answer is simple: it's just not in the police's interest.
"And it's not the role they play in society," he noted. "They constantly want to patrol and harass working-class communities and [de-escalating] is not what they're trying to do."
By comparison, Becker noted that only four people were killed in the United Kingdom last year by police forces. Although according to the World Bank the UK has 65 million people to the United States' whopping 323 million, this hardly accounts for the magnitude of difference between the two statistics.
Per the study, most of the people killed by police were either suspects in nonviolent offenses, stopped for traffic violations or hadn't done anything wrong.