Last night in a discussion on Twitter I was given a link to a list of police shootings since 2009. I wrote about the list here
, and did a quick search of the list in order to get an idea of the state breakdown. The numbers are awful. California is the worst with 350, and New York and Texas are tied at 163. I am assuming this is because of population size, but there are real problems that are well documented with police in New York and California.
During the Twitter discussion it was said that the number does not include prison deaths, and I point out that it does not include injuries or Border Patrol. I do not think that Stand Your Ground laws apply here or I would have identified those states in the list. Just to include them anyway here they are.
What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings by D. Brian Burghart
The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.
In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.
I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.
bad journalism colludes with police to hide this information. The primary reason for this is that police will cut off information to reporters who tell tales. And a reporter can’t work if he or she can’t talk to sources.
We Are Compiling a List of Every Police Shooting in America
Fatal Encounters Website
Fatal Encounters on Twitter