Without a federal requirement to disclose police killings, it’s impossible to know how many cops kill civilians in any given year.
That could change under new legislation that would require all police departments to report law-enforcement killing to the Justice Department, Essence reports.
Currently the FBI keeps a tally on the number of police killings, but local departments aren’t required to produce the information. A Wall Street Journal analysis found that the FBI’s tally of law-enforcement killings between 2007 and 2012 was missing 550 deaths.
“What we know is that some places have chosen not to report these, for whatever reason,” Cooper told the Journal.
Under the new legislation, introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN, all police agencies would be required to disclose every death during police custody.
“Before we can truly address the problem of excessive force used by law enforcement, we have to understand the nature of the problem, and that begins with accurate data,” Rep. Cohen said in a statement.
Called the “National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act of 2014,’ the bill likely will have to be reintroduced in January.