A Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march in Washington, D.C. brought together postal workers and family members of 26-year-old letter carrier Tyson Jerome Barnette, who was shot and killed while delivering mail in the dark in Landover, Maryland, in November.
Protesters blamed the Postal Service, saying his tragic death reflects safety problems brought on by understaffing and plant closures.
USPS hasn’t released figures on how many deliveries take place in the dark—but it does track how many carriers finish their routes after 5 p.m. In a recent report, this figure hit 43 percent—the highest yet, nearly half of all carriers—for the latest month reported, September 2013. Compare that to five years earlier, when fewer than 20 percent of letter carriers got back so late.