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Police Use Of Deadly Force Is Largely Untracked Nationwide

The FBI does monitor the number of police officers killed in the line of duty, but it lacks a complete database tracking police use of deadly force.

By Jamal Andress | August 11, 2014

​For many, the killing of unarmed Missouri teen Michael Brown brings to mind other instances where officers used deadly force.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”

​Law enforcement is the only non-military career in the country that offers that power, the use of deadly force, yet its practice remains un-monitored on a national scale and in most states around the country.

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While the FBI keeps information annually on hate crimes, aggravated assault and officers killed in the line of duty there is no complete database tracking the police’s use of force.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has an ‘Arrest-Related Death Report’ but law offices around the country aren’t required to fill it out and a lot of them don’t. As the report notes, Georgia, Maryland and Montana didn’t submit one report for six years.

Now, in the off chance your city or state does compile the information, history says you won’t like the results.

“What we found was a pattern or practice of systemic deficiencies that have pervaded the Albuquerque Police Department for many years.”

Back in April the DOJ investigated the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of force after the APD shot and killed an armed homeless man. They found the officers “too frequently use deadly force.”

“Hey! Hey! Hey! Put the knife down!” Put the knife down! Put the knife down!

A similar investigation was conducted in Seattle, where the Department of Justice ruled that when the Seattle Police Department used force, it was done in an unconstitutional and excessive manner, nearly 20 percent of the time.

And in St. Louis, where Michael Brown was killed, a similar report from 2012. (Video via MSNBC)

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “On a straight per capita basis, St. Louis officers fired up to eight times more often than others. … From January 2007 through Sept. 30, 2011, the department cleared more than 96 percent of the shootings by officers.”

After a long night of unrest in St. Louis county, it seems the FBI will open a parallel investigation of the shooting but unlike most violence in and around the country this investigation will not be placed in a broader context or a broader conversation because the information simply isn’t there. (Video via CNN)

The video contains images from Getty Images. 

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