*Federal authorities plan to gather additional information about shootings involving law enforcement and will be disclosed in a detailed report on how police use deadly force, FBI Director James B. Comey said Monday.
Comey expresses that this information is necessary for the ongoing debate over policing in the United States. Continuing “without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both within law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” he wrote in a message along with FBI’s crime statistics for 2014.
This isn’t the first time Comey has criticized the information available in regards to how often police shoot and kill people. While the federal government does track some fatal police shootings, officials have come forth and confirmed that this data is incomplete. All agencies in the United States are not participating in the voluntary reporting system, which leaves an impressive gap in the ongoing discussion.
“It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police in this country,” Comey said during the February appearance at Georgetown University. He also said that after heated protests began in Ferguson, he asked his staff for statistics on how many black people are shot by police, but they couldn’t provide a number.
The Washington Post has been keeping track of every fatal shooting by the police in 2015. After Comey’s remarks were published Monday, the Post had found 729 shootings. In the past four decades, the FBI had never recorded more than 460 fatal shootings by police in a single year. Hmm…
“Once we receive this data, we will add a special publication that focuses on law enforcement’s use of force in shooting incidents that will outline facts that happened, who was involved, the nature of injuries or deaths, and the circumstances behind the incidents, “ Comey said. “We hope this information will become part of balanced dialogue in communities and in the media — a dialogue that will help to dispel misperceptions, foster accountability, and promote transparency in how law enforcement personnel relate to the communities they serve.”
What are your thoughts?