In 2014, Only 224 of 18,000 U.S law enforcement agencies reported a fatal shooting by their officers. The overwhelming majority of police departments are not required, nor seem to even care about reporting on the number of people they kill.
“It is unacceptable that The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper from the U.K. are becoming the lead source of information about violent encounters between police and civilians. That is not good for anybody,” FBI Director James Comey lamented, last year, noting that the media is doing a better job than they are.
There is no real system in place to count the number of people killed by police, beyond the good work of independent media and advocacy groups. The FBI relies on a voluntary system where local police departments report data on deadly use of force — if they so choose.
Naturally, most departments refuse to submit data.
Thanks to the vigilance of concerned media and advocacy groups, however, cops are finding it quite hard to hide their violence.
In January 2016, police killed 113 people — at least one person was fatally gunned down by a cop every day that month. One particularly deadly day, January 27, saw ten people meet their fate, thanks to the police. On average, that is almost 4 people a day.
And there is no indication this tragic epidemic will end soon.
We know that American cops killed 113 people in January, not because the police told us about them, but because there are hard working people out there who care about this vital information.
Sites like Fatal Encounters, or Cop Crisis, with its beautifully coded graphical interface, count police killings as a public service. Killed By Police also ran one of the most comprehensive databases on police killings as they listed 1,205 total killings by law enforcement for 2015, but hasn’t yet listed any statistics for 2016.
Last year, police killings reached such a level of media coverage, that even the Guardian got in on the tally with their project The Counted.
Until recently, Americans relied solely on the state to report their own killings — a truly futile cause.
However, thanks to the multiple sources counting police killings, these numbers are getting harder for police to departments to fudge. And now, thanks to an inventive journalist at The Intercept, Josh Begley, there is an app anyone can download to their smartphone that will alert them every time police kill someone.
The app, called Archives and Absences, sends the name of the person who was killed and where they were killed to your phone.
Counting killer cops just went mobile.
I made a new iPhone app. It sends you an alert every time the police kill someone in the U.S. https://t.co/M3IOCDgRPn
— Josh Begley (@joshbegley) January 20, 2016
Americans are finally beginning to understand that knowing how many people are being killed by their government is crucial to maintaining a free society. Now that we are counting them, and realizing that the number is startlingly high, the next question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
The Free Thought Project has been in the business of providing possible answers to that question for a long time now, and many of those answers have to do with Ending the War on Drugs. However, if you’d like a list of possible solutions, we’ve created a category of articles containing them, that can be found here, #Solutions.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world.