Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
December 6, 2014 11:27 AM   Subscribe

What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings. D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News and Review, has spent two years compiling Fatal Encounters, a croudsourced national database of police violence and publishing stories with his findings.
posted by qi (21 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is an important project. Thanks for posting about it. The Gawker article is kind of meh, but hopefully it will get some more attention for the issue.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


No idea it was this much of a black hole, this is great work.
posted by odinsdream at 11:47 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


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.
Yep.
posted by Etrigan at 12:03 PM on December 6, 2014 [49 favorites]




The site clearly needs a lot more work. (I did a search on fatalencounters for Virginia, and was surprised to see a black police officer in the results, but the linked article was for someone else.)

I'm not sure how much that deadspin's form is going to help. (It seems to start with some strange questions about what google result page you found the info on.) I hope they have an agreement to share the data from the two efforts. Anything that will save a life in the future.

There should be a wiki about every incident, as you can't expect tv news websites not to delete stories upon request from the agencies involved. A wiki might help with to follow through and see if there was a grand jury indictment from each incident. (Before you leap to snark it, let me; no matter which police shooting, there probably wasn't.)
posted by Catblack at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


And it strikes me that having a national database of police shootings searchable and accessable to the public is the very sensible thing that there should be a change.org petition for.
posted by Catblack at 12:57 PM on December 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


Does change.org achieve anything other than faintly embarrassing the administration?
posted by wotsac at 1:14 PM on December 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


It would be so nice if the MacArthur Fellowship committee is paying attention to Mr. Burghart's work. Fellowships are supposed to be awarded to individuals as 'an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential.' Mr. Burghart has demonstrated all these qualities while pursuing a goal to provide the public with information that is rightfully theirs. Thanks for posting this, and thank you, D. Brian Burghart.
posted by grounded at 1:17 PM on December 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


Does change.org achieve anything other than faintly embarrassing the administration?

What, you don't like puppies?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:02 PM on December 6, 2014


It would be so nice if the MacArthur Fellowship committee is paying attention to Mr. Burghart's work. Fellowships are supposed to be awarded to individuals as 'an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential.' Mr. Burghart has demonstrated all these qualities....
posted by grounded at 4:17 PM on December 6


He sure has. Can we nominate him? Or otherwise bring his work to the attention of the committee?
posted by magstheaxe at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


There's an NPR story on the same issue from August mentioned in the Gawker comments. I'm pretty sure it was linked in one of the Ferguson longboats, but it's worth mentioning here as well.
posted by immlass at 3:09 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


There should be a wiki about every incident, as you can't expect tv news websites not to delete stories upon request from the agencies involved.

No respectable news site would remove a story based on law enforcement request.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2014


No respectable news site would remove a story based on law enforcement request.

There aren't a lot of those left.
posted by odinsdream at 5:30 PM on December 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


Has anyone else tried writing one up? I just found one near me and did it, and it was pretty easy.

I wish they had a category not just for mental illness/ substance abuse but also for whether the victim had a disability that could affect communication. My understanding is that people with autism and intellectual disabilities are at pretty high risk of having negative interactions with police, and I know that there's a big problem with police brutality towards deaf people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:49 AM on December 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was surprised to find no one had entered Michael Brown. So I did.
posted by waitingtoderail at 4:30 AM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


There aren't a lot of those left.

You're living in a deluded world if you think news organizations are allowing police to dictate content. Every journalist I know loves these requests because that's a pretty rare story and they never remove the content. They just run a story about the request.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:37 AM on December 7, 2014


Very nice. In principle, the DOJ Civil Rights Division could expand their "root-and-branch interventions into violently dysfunctional police forces" based upon this data (ref. Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:17 PM on December 7, 2014










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