There are no frills to be found at www.killedbypolice.net. The site is just a simple spreadsheet. The information it contains, though, is invaluable. It is a list of every single person documented to have been killed by police in the United States in 2013 and 2014. There are links to a media report for every single death, as well as their names, ages, and when known, sex and race.
The site is so valuable because, as we've noted previously, there is no reliable national database for keeping track of the number of people killed by police each year. The FBI tracks homicides by law enforcement officers, but participation is voluntary, and many agencies don't participate. As I noted last week, Eric Garner's death at the hands of a New York Police Department won't show up in the FBI's statistics for 2014 because the state of New York does not participate in the program.
The FBI's statistics for 2013 say that law enforcement officers killed 461 people that year. Killedbypolice.net apparently got its start last year. Using their system of monitoring by news report, they have calculated that police actually killed 748 people between May and December. That's 287 more than the FBI reports for the whole year.
And for 2014, which still has a couple of weeks left, the site has reported 1,029 people have been killed by police. That's about a 30 percent increase over last year, though with four-month gap at the start of 2013 (measuring 25 percent of the year), it's possible the numbers would be much closer if we had January through April. Even with the FBI's broken numbers, we know that 2013 marked a two-decade high in killings by police.
Neither the site nor its Facebook page indicates who is responsible for compiling this information, and they're protecting their identity by hosting the site through GoDaddy. We can't talk to whoever is responsible for this database about how or why they started it and how much effort it is to keep track of this information. Here is a page for people to submit information to help improve the quality of the database.
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