A recent analysis found that the killings of hundreds of individuals by law enforcement officers have not been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The study, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, stated that after looking at records from 105 of the nation’s largest police forces, there was a gap of 583 homicides that were not included in the FBI’s records from 2007 to 2012.
The analysis found that the departments recorded 1, 825 officer-involved killings over the five-year period, which was 45 percent higher than the tally of 1,242 that had been reported to the FBI.
According to Yahoo News, this massive gap “makes it nearly impossible to figure out how many people cops kill – justifiably or not – every year.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that local police departments are not required to provide the FBI with either statistics or detailed records on how many individuals are killed by police officers.
According to CBS News, police departments have “developed their own policies that generally permit officers to use force when they reasonably fear imminent physical harm,” which ultimately gives officers “the benefit of the doubt by prosecutors,” and makes and grand jurors “reluctant to second-guess their decisions.”
This is evidenced in the case of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9. The Grand Jury chose not to indict Wilson on murder charges, sparking riots and protests throughout the country.
Another instance that recently ignited protests from the American public is the case of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo in New York City, on July 17. The Grand Jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, despite the fact that unlike in Wilson’s case, Pantaleo’s actions were caught on video.
In addition to the freedom local police departments are given regarding their policies for use of force, they are also given a great amount of freedom when deciding how to use the military equipment they obtain with grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
As previously reported, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is in charge of providing grants for military equipment, does not have a system in place to determine the extent to which police departments use the equipment, and as a result the grant program “exists with little oversight.”
In the newest episode of the Truth in Media Project, which will be released on December 10, Investigative Journalist Ben Swann looks at the root of Police militarization, and the effect it is having on society. Watch the trailer below: