It is telling that all sorts of documentation and statistics are kept about police employees who are killed by non-police employees, but the inverse – non-police employees killed by police employees – is not similarly tracked. That’s why I was so excited to learn of Fatal Encounters, which seeks to create an exhaustive database of individuals killed by police employees.
The transparency-maximizing endeavor will be a vital additional in the conversation of police accountability, making it much more difficult for anyone to ignore the institutionalized violence caused by police employees.
Fatal Encounters is intended to help create a database of all deaths through police interaction in the United States since Jan. 1, 2000. A large piece will be based on public information requests, but the bulk of it–the part that will make it sustain after the structure is built–will use crowdsourcing to update the database. To help, please go here to research and add data for an older incident; go here to add data for new incidents (but please do a last name search before you add a new incident).
This site will remain as impartial and data-driven as possible, directed by the theory that Americans should be able to answer some simple questions about the use of deadly force by police: How many people are killed in interactions with law enforcement in the United States of America? Are they increasing? What do those people look like? Can policies and training be modified to have fewer officer-involved shootings and improve outcomes and safety for both officers and citizens?
If police were actually incentivized to provide protection, it seems this data – how many people police employees kill – would be integral. Police outfits then might compete to have the lowest rate of deadly force incidents by capita. But, as we know, police institutions are incentivized only to grow in size and scope, and their “customers” are told to pay or else.
And far from putting the safety of the “customer” first, as Dale Brown notes is paramount, police today put themselves first, and are quick to shoot, confident that their badge will afford protection.
Police are motivated to protect their perceived legitimacy, and thus employ spin campaigns and frame each iteration as an anomaly, where the police triggerperson had no choice. It wouldn’t reflect well for them to disclose the frequency at which deadly force is used – which almost without exception, brings them protection from friends within the injustice system. That’s why accumulating, and making this information public has so much potential.
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Help Fatal Encounters objectively show the institutionalized violence caused by police employees
This spreadsheet just lists the names of those slain by police employees. without supporting information.
Your job, should you take it, is to help ascertain and submit that related information, so that it can be added to the database.
Your first step is to select the name of one of those people. In this example the name “Chyraphon Komvongsa” was chosen.
Click here to search the existing database and input the person’s last name into the search field.
Here, the last name “Komvongsa” was inputted.
This step is done to ensure no one else has already allocated the time finding and submitting information related to their death.
If “No results are found” then your time spent looking into the incident that caused their death will be of help.
Once you’ve compiled information related to the person you selected, visit the Submissions Page and share it with the Fatal Encounters team. They will then vet the information for accuracy and add it to the database.