Monday, August 25, 2014

FEDERAL LAW ORDERING US ATTORNEY GENERAL TO GATHER DATA ON POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE HAS BEEN IGNORED FOR 20 YEARS

SOURCE: TECH DIRT

Federal Law Ordering US Attorney General To Gather Data On Police Excessive Force Has Been Ignored For 20 Years

Are police officers getting worse or is this apparent increase in excessive force nothing more than a reflection of the increase in unofficial documentation (read: cameras) and public scrutiny? What we do know is that as crime has gone down, police forces have escalated their acquisitions of military gear and weapons. With options for lethal and less-lethal force continually expanding, it seems that deployment of force in excess of what the situation requires has become the new normal, but it's tough to find hard data that backs up these impressions.

One of the reasons we don't have data on police use of excessive force is because compiling this information relies on law enforcement agencies being forthcoming about these incidents. Generally speaking, it takes FOIA requests and lawsuits to obtain any data gathered by individual police departments. This shouldn't be the case. In fact, as AllGov reports, this lack of data violates a federal law.
In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Among its provisions was the order that “the Attorney General shall, through appropriate means, acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.” The Justice Department was also required to publish an annual report on the data collected.

And…that’s pretty much the last anyone heard of that. The work of collecting the data was shuffled off to the International Association for Chiefs of Police, which made a few efforts at collecting data and put together a report in 2001, but has produced nothing since.
Unsurprisingly, law enforcement agencies don't want to talk about it, and the entity in charge of compiling the data seems entirely uninterested in doing the job. Even if the data was collected as the statute requires, much of it would still be questionable. For one, it relies on self-reporting by entities that see zero benefit in exposing their officers' wrongdoing. For another, excessive force incidents previously recorded may turn out to be "justified" later, either by internal investigations or via the judicial system.


Read more http://www.blacklistednews.com/Federal_Law_Ordering_US_Attorney_General_To_Gather_Data_On_Police_Excessive_Force_Has_Been_Ignored_For_20_Years/37497/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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