HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » What I've Learned from Tw...

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 07:07 AM

What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings [View all]

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.


http://gawker.com/what-ive-learned-from-two-years-collecting-data-on-poli-1625472836

What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings

382,354324

D. Brian Burghart
Filed to: POLICE BRUTALITY
COPS
DEATHS
PROJECTS
8/22/14 1:25pm

A few days ago, Deadspin's Kyle Wagner began to compile a list of all police-involved shootings in the U.S. He's not the only one to undertake such a project: D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News & Review, has been attempting a crowdsourced national database of deadly police violence. We asked Brian to write about what he's learned from his project.

It began simply enough. Commuting home from my work at Reno's alt-weekly newspaper, the News & Review, on May 18, 2012, I drove past the aftermath of a police shooting—in this case, that of a man named Jace Herndon. It was a chaotic scene, and I couldn't help but wonder how often it happened.

I went home and grabbed my laptop and a glass of wine and tried to find out. I found nothing—a failure I simply chalked up to incompetent local media.

- snip -

I started to search in earnest. Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn't wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn't being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn't have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know "best practices" for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn't.

- snip -

Database & Last Name Check
Read more fatalencounters.​org
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.

It's the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? 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.

The second biggest thing I learned is that 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. It happened to me on almost every level as I advanced this year-long Fatal Encounters series through the News & Review. First they talk; then they stop, then they roadblock.

MORE

46 replies, 10373 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 46 replies Author Time Post
Reply What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings [View all]
Hissyspit Dec 2014 OP
cantbeserious Dec 2014 #1
malaise Dec 2014 #2
sammy750 Dec 2014 #3
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #4
Speed8098 Dec 2014 #6
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #7
maindawg Dec 2014 #8
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #22
pasto76 Dec 2014 #35
eomer Dec 2014 #10
Comrade Grumpy Dec 2014 #24
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 #28
eomer Dec 2014 #42
ncjustice80 Dec 2014 #14
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #25
ncjustice80 Dec 2014 #27
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #29
ncjustice80 Dec 2014 #36
Munificence Dec 2014 #43
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #11
Callmecrazy Dec 2014 #23
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #32
RufusTFirefly Dec 2014 #30
LineReply ,
blkmusclmachine Dec 2014 #5
Scuba Dec 2014 #9
woo me with science Dec 2014 #34
Enthusiast Dec 2014 #12
marym625 Dec 2014 #13
avebury Dec 2014 #15
ChiciB1 Dec 2014 #16
Ms. Toad Dec 2014 #20
truedelphi Dec 2014 #39
ChiciB1 Dec 2014 #46
Dustlawyer Dec 2014 #17
lonestarnot Dec 2014 #18
Ms. Toad Dec 2014 #19
KingCharlemagne Dec 2014 #21
sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #26
jayschool Dec 2014 #31
mwooldri Dec 2014 #33
Liberal_in_LA Dec 2014 #37
pa28 Dec 2014 #38
MoreGOPoop Dec 2014 #40
99th_Monkey Dec 2014 #41
daleanime Dec 2014 #44
blackspade Dec 2014 #45