MTH 522 – 10/11/2023

The “Fatal Force Database,” a comprehensive project that painstakingly tracks and documents instances in which American police officers shoot and mortally hurt citizens while carrying out their duty, was first reported by The Washington Post. Important information is included in this database, such as the victim’s race, the circumstances of the shootings, if the victim was carrying a weapon, and whether the victim was going through a mental health crisis. Data is gathered from a number of sources, including as social media, law enforcement websites, independent databases like Fatal Encounters, and local news articles.

Importantly, the database was updated in 2022 to improve accountability and transparency inside departments by standardizing and making publicly available the identities of member police organizations. This dataset has regularly documented more than twice as many fatal police shootings since 2015 as official sources like the FBI and CDC, highlighting a large data gap and highlighting the necessity for thorough tracking. Constantly updated, it continues to be a priceless tool for scholars, decision-makers, and the general public. It provides information about shootings in which police are involved, encourages openness, and adds to the continuing conversations about police accountability and reform.

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