Over the last year, seemingly every week has featured a new instance of extreme police brutality, resulting in the death of an unarmed man. The fact that all the victims were black has only aggravated the underlying outrage, adding a grimy layer of institutional racism to what was at best an ugly situation indicating a need for better training for--and perhaps screening of--those who would serve as police officers in our communities. But I've been struck by something: In nearly every news article written about these killings--from Michael Brown (Ferguson, MO) to Eric Garner (Staten Island) to Freddie Gray (Baltimore)--we see some variation of the following disclaimer:
"Because no nationwide database of police killings exists, it is impossible to draw definitive conclusions about the actions of the officers in this case."
Fair enough, but doesn't this suggest it might be time to start compiling such a database?