Another year has come to an end, which means another set of Unified Crime Reports (UCR) will be published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The reports are supposed to be the most authoritative set of data on crime in the US.
461 seems to be a fairly good number. It fits with the estimates of 500 per year that most believe to be accurate. The problem is that the actual number of people killed by cops in 2013 is much higher.
On May 1st, 2013 activists began keeping track of
Corporate news reports of people killed by nonmilitary law enforcement officers, whether in the line of duty or not, and regardless of reason or method.
Inclusion implies neither wrongdoing nor justification on the part of the person killed or the officer involved. The post merely documents the occurrence of a death.
Even though they missed the first four months of the year, they logged over 763 people killed by cops from May until the year’s end.
The results can be found here, complete with links to the stories about the individual killings.
2013 wasn’t an exceptionally high year. The website catalogs over 1000 people killed by police in 2014. The UCR has never reported anything even remotely close to this number.
Readers are left with choosing from three options:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency known for investigating things, simply can’t count up news reports of people killed by cops.
- The FBI has set the criteria for inclusion in the report so narrowly that more than half of those people killed by cops just don’t make the cut.
- The FBI is intentionally lying about the number of people killed.
The answer is a combination of all three.
The FBI has no desire to publicize the number of people killed by cops. After all, this is the same government entity that has shot 150 people, and cleared themselves in every single case. Even in the case that resulted in US taxpayers having to fork over $1.3 million to the victim of an FBI shooting, it was deemed justified. If the government wanted to disclose accurate numbers, they could. It isn’t difficult. Apparently, literacy is not a requirement to work for the FBI because they certainly aren’t reading the papers.
The criteria is exceedingly narrow and vague all at the same time. To be included, the case must involve a justifiable homicide of a felon by a law enforcement officer while on duty. So when cops kill someone for selling loose cigarettes, it isn’t included because it’s a misdemeanor. When a cop guns down an unarmed kid in a Wal-Mart, it isn’t included because there was no crime being committed by the suspect. When an off-duty cop flips out and shoots a woman in the head because he didn’t like her driving, it isn’t included.
In other words, the report intentionally leaves out the cases most likely to be unjustified. People shot for committing petty crimes aren’t included, and those who were shot for committing no crime are not included.
The report is predetermined to only include good, old-fashioned, bad guys that were shot and killed by a cop wearing a white hat before he rode off into the sunset with Miss Kitty while his still-smoking peacemaker hung at his hip.
Given that the FBI has found a way to intentionally filter out cases, and has made no effort to reconcile their report with the facts, it must be concluded that they are intentionally lying to the American public and to the policy makers who rely on this data to make decisions.
If the reader is in the mood to have news of a killing by police hit their Facebook newsfeed about 3 times a day, the Killed by Police Facebook page posts incidents in real time as they are discovered.