Journalist D. Brian Burghart of the Reno News & Review was aghast to discover that there is no national database about the killing of citizens by law enforcement.
As a result, he decided to make one. With our help. Burghart explains his reason to Gawker:
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.
How do you help?
Go to www.fatalencounters.org.
Research one of the listed shootings, fill out the row, and change its background color. It’ll take you about 25 minutes. There are thousands to choose from, and another 2,000 or so on Burghart’s cloud drive that he haven’t even added yet.
After your additions, Burghart will fact-check and fill in the cracks. Your contribution will be added to largest database about police violence in the country. Check out what has been collected about your locale’s information here.