To date the most reliable data anyone has about law enforcement killings in the U.S. was the FBI's statistics on homicides by law enforcement. But therein lies the problem.
Those numbers are voluntarily given to the FBI by police, and many jurisdictions simply don’t hand over this information, thus making an accurate accounting of exactly how many people police have actually killed each year extremely difficult to ascertain.
For instance, the killing of Eric Garner would not be included in the FBI’s 2014 statistics because New York doesn’t participate in the voluntary program.
Thankfully there is a new means of aggregating how many people are being killed by law enforcement. This new tool for accountability is the website www.killedbypolice.com.
It’s basically a spreadsheet that lists every person killed by cops in the years 2013 and 2014. In addition to naming those killed, it also provides a link to media reports for each of the killings, age, sex and race if available.
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The information available on the site begins in May of 2013 and runs through now. The novel idea of monitoring the number of police killings through news reports has shown to be a much better accounting of deaths at the hands of cops than the voluntary FBI system.
The FBI’s stats show that in all of 2013 there were 461 people killed by cops, but when using the new site, which only shows from May 1 to Dec. 31, 2013, police actually killed 748 people. Keep in mind, 748 is drastically more than the feds claim police killed the entire year but only accounts for 8 months of 2013.
The site shows 2014’s total number killed by police to be at 1,029 with a few weeks left in the year.
Here is a link to their Facebook page. This is another wonderful tool to be utilized in holding law enforcement accountable for their actions, as they can no longer hide these numbers from the public.
This site has shown itself to be a dramatically better barometer for what is actually transpiring in police state USA, and accounting for how many citizens are actually being killed by police, than anything we previously had available.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.