Police Mandatory Reporting
Update 5/1:Baltimore’s state attorney ruled Freddy Gray’s death a homicide and charged six officers with the crime. Freddie, a 25 year old Black man, died after his spine was partially severed while in police custody.
Today's announcement isn’t a victory but it’s certainly an important step towards accountability. What we need next is transparency.
Until we know the the truth about how many young Black and brown people are brutalized by police encounters every day, there will undoubtedly be more and more tragedy – from Baltimore to Ferguson to Staten Island, and across America.
How many police shootings happen around the country every year? No one knows.
The Federal Government keeps tons of data and statistics on all kinds of topics – from how many people were victims of shark attacks to the number of hogs and pigs living on farms in the U.S. – but we still have no reliable data on how many people are shot by police officers each year.
We also don’t have comprehensive data on other police activity like stops, frisks, low level arrests, and uses of force– and the related basic demographic information like race, gender, age, etc.
For too long we have been relying on voluntary, self-reporting by police departments. And police departments don’t often volunteer any of this data, even if they’re collecting it, because they’re concerned with their image and liability. It’s time to make this information public – we have the right to know.
For the past several months, police targeting of Black and brown youth and adults has risen to the level of national crisis. From Michael Brown to Eric Garner, Tamir Rice to Walter Scott, law enforcement has come under scrutiny to identify and rectify patterns of misconduct and racial profiling.
Data collection and reporting is something the DOJ can begin requiring today.
And it will offer us the best, most accurate, picture of what policing in the 21st century looks like - and allow the statistics to better shape tactics and policies.
The first step towards accountability is transparency – tell the DOJ to create a public database and mandate police departments around the country to collect and share this data.
Sign this petition