Under four presidents, the Feds neglected duty to collect statistics on police killings
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of USA Today
Posted: June 22nd, 2020
In 1994, Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which ... required the attorney general to acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers across the nation and to publish an annual summary of the data acquired. Congress effectively ordered the Justice Department to document how often police kill unarmed private citizens. Two years later, a Justice Department report raised the white flag: Systematically collecting information on use of force from the nation's more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies is difficult given ... the sensitivity of the issue. Instead of requiring local and state law enforcement agencies to comply with the new federal law, the Justice Department expanded its "police-public contact survey". Police killings became a hot topic nationwide after a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. The Washington Post and The Guardian began tracking individual shootings by local police. The Guardian [revealed] that police killed 1,134 people across the nation in 2015. This was 2 1/2 times higher than the death toll the FBI reported the previous year. The Ferguson protests spurred Congress to enact another law in December 2014, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, compelling states and federal agencies to fully report fatalities of people they had sought to arrest or detain. However ... an inspector general report revealed that the agency did not even intend to attempt to garner such data until this year.
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