Mission: Given the lack of basic information about killings by law enforcement agencies across the country — an average of more than three a day in 2017 — the Police Violence Report aims to provide some answers and quantify the impact of police violence in communities nationwide.
Background: In the wake of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown killings, data scientist and activist Sam Sinyangwe, along with DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, both prominent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement, launched the Mapping Police Violence in 2015 to, in Sinyangwe's words, "map the universe of police killings according to the best research available." Using statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI, Sinyangwe and his team soon found that the data significantly undercounted the victims, ignored location, and didn’t always include race, so they turned to crowdsourced databases such as FatalEncounters.org, the U.S. Police Shootings Database, and KilledbyPolice.net to augment their findings. The project has gained the attention of data experts like Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, while Sinyangwe himself has shared his team's work via numerous media appearances. By highlighting the difference in rates of police violence by location, the project aims, among other things, to motivate elected officials and others to work for real, measurable change in police policies and tactics.
Outstanding Web Features: The 2017 Police Violence Report aggregates data collected on the more than 1,100 killings by police in 2017. The stunning presentation assembles a series of visuals "on the fly" as visitors scroll through the site, including charts illustrating the number of people killed in 2017, how they were killed (shooting, Taser, vehicle, physical force), the number of officers charged with a crime, the number of cases in which video evidence exists, how many individuals killed by police were unarmed and how many were people of color, and so on. Visitors to the site can also download reports with additional data about police violence in America, check out the Campaign Zero (an affiliate organization) website to learn more about solutions to police violence, and/or use the site's finder tool to see what their representatives at the state and national level are doing about police violence.