POLICE MANDATORY REPORTING
The first trial of a Baltimore police officer in the death of Freddie Gray was declared a mistrial. Freddie, a 25-year-old Black man, died after his spine was partially severed while in police custody.
Chicago is also awaiting justice. Cook County’s state attorney charged Officer Van Dyke with first-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, including while Laquan was on the ground. But it took over a year for video of the incident to be released.
These are two cases among many. Until we know the truth about how many young Black and brown people are brutalized by police encounters every day, there will undoubtedly be more and more tragedy. We need transparency now to get real accountability.
How many police shootings happen around the country every year? No one knows.
The Federal Government keeps tons of data and statistics on all kinds of topics – from how many people were victims of shark attacks to the number of hogs and pigs living on farms in the U.S. – but we still have no reliable data on how many people are shot by police officers each year.
We also don’t have comprehensive data on other police activity like stops, frisks, low level arrests, and uses of force– and the related basic demographic information like race, gender, age, etc.
For too long we have been relying on voluntary, self-reporting by police departments. And police departments don’t often volunteer any of this data, even if they’re collecting it, because they’re concerned with their image and liability. It’s time to make this information public – we have the right to know.
For the past several months, police targeting of Black and brown youth and adults has risen to the level of national crisis. From Michael Brown to Eric Garner, Tamir Rice to Walter Scott, law enforcement has come under scrutiny to identify and rectify patterns of misconduct and racial profiling.
Data collection and reporting is something the DOJ can begin requiring today. And it will offer us the best, most accurate, picture of what policing in the 21st century looks like – and allow the statistics to better shape tactics and policies.
The first step towards accountability is transparency – Click link below to sign petition to:
- Tell the DOJ to mandate that all police departments collect and report data on a quarterly basis on police shootings, and other deaths in custody, as well as stops, frisks, searches, citations, arrests, and uses of force.
- Create a national public database of this data, including a breakdown by race, gender, age, outcome, and the officer’s basis for the encounter and action.
create a public database and mandate police departments around the country to collect and share this data.