It’s been a busy week for the FBI. Whether it’s peeking in on Hillary Clinton, reviewing an inmate death, creating elaborate lures for mentally ill people who might join ISIS, or shutting down websites that sell fake badges – they are all over the news.
So busy are they, that they don’t have time to vet numbers in the Uniform Crime Report or on how many U.S. citizens are killed by police.
When pressure reached a peak to reveal real numbers of U.S. citizens killed by police, there was only vague promises from FBI Director James Comey. He told reporters in April that it was “ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year.”
Indeed, it was a subject humorously tackled on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last fall, when a criminologist could not definitively say whether crime was increasing or decreasing – or expand on any related data. That episode highlighted the mystery of how many Americans are killed by law enforcement.
The Guardian reported:
The FBI will continue to resist pressure from legislators and activists for the creation of a fully comprehensive count of all killings by American police officers, the bureau’s director signaled on Monday.
Writing as the FBI released its annual crime statistics, James Comey said an existing voluntary system, under which police departments around the country choose whether or not to submit data on homicides by their officers, will carry on.
Comey said the FBI would try to collect more information – but gave no specific details about how this would be done.
Additionally, this week there was a report that showed a ghastly under-count of people killed in police high-speed chases.
When a national tragedy occurs centering on a mass shooting, scrutiny is automatically and illogically aimed at the greater law abiding populace with calls to restrict personal firearms. Laws immediately get enacted paired with trite challenges like “if you’ve got nothing to hide…” If it weren’t for numbers provided by Killed by Police the media would still be obscuring the fact that police killed more people in 2014 alone, than all U.S. mass shootings combined. Killed by Police recorded over 1100 deaths – the FBI counted 444 and called them justifiable homicides by police.
But when Americans wish for a mere inventory on the casualties by law enforcement – what kind of response do they get?