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Unacceptable, embarrassing and ridiculous



No, this isn’t a post about America’s favorite candy floss topped bomb tosser. Those are the words FBI director James Comey used to describe his comments about The Ferguson Effect.

Le psyche. He was talking about the government’s inability to track the number of people who are fatally shot by the police.

As a result, the FBI is going to scrap its current system, which struggled to capture fatal police shootings and would not have recorded people such as Eric Garner, Natasha McKenna and Tyree Caroll.

The new effort will go beyond tracking fatal shootings and, for the first time, track any incident in which an officer causes serious injury or death to civilians, including through the use of stun guns, pepper spray, and even fists and feet.

The improved system should be up and running in 2017. The FBI states it is responding to a “real human outcry.” Uh-huh. I suspect it is also responding to the fact that Washington Post did investigative journalism, put together a comprehensive database of police shootings and showed that the FBI’s data has a few holes that are almost large enough to hold Trump’s ego.

The new database will continue to rely on the voluntary reports of local police departments; FBI officials said they lack the legal authority to mandate reporting.

But [Stephen L. Morris, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division] said the leaders of the nation’s largest police organizations have agreed for the first time to lobby local departments to produce the data. The Justice Department is also looking to offer federal grants to local departments that may need additional resources to comply.

Say, how about using some peer pressure to get police departments to stop creating environments that encourage officers to assault and kill people? Too much? You’re right, it was silly of me to even mention it. I should instead worry that the prospect of having to fill out a form after they kill or maim someone will keep police from doing their jobs and as a result I will be attacked or killed by a thug who isn’t wearing a uniform. Eek.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics is currently testing a pilot data collection program that relies in part on the Washington Post’s database. It plans to roll out its new system at the end of next year.

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