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No specific stats on deadly police encounters

Posted by wlpo on December 7, 2014

The deadly police encounters in Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and New York may make it feel like there’s a tidal wave of cases sweeping the country. But there are no firm statistics to say whether they’re part of a growing trend or simply a series of coincidences generating a deafening buzz in news reports and social media.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports track justifiable police homicides but the statistics that rely on voluntary reporting are incomplete. Circumstances of the deaths and information such as age and race aren’t required.

Samuel Walker is an emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a leading scholar on policing and civil liberties. He says it’s “outrageous” there’s no accurate count of the people who die in police custody.

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