The FBI has announced a new database for our nation's police departments in order to track their use of force in interactions with civilians. The new mandate requires police departments to report the number of fatal encounters they have with civilians. Failure to do so will result in financial penalties. However, police are not required to report non-fatal interactions. The New York Times has the details.
Under the Justice Department plan, the F.B.I. is to begin a pilot program early next year to assemble data on the use of force by about 178,000 agents at major federal law enforcement agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the F.B.I. itself.
“Accurate and comprehensive data on the use of force by law enforcement is essential to an informed and productive discussion about community-police relations,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement Thursday.
"We've spent time working with local law enforcement to come up with national consistent standards," she added in a press conference.
The past two years, the tension between police and communities have been broadcast nonstop. From Baltimore to Ferguson, to the recent deadly shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, the media has reported on police killings of African-American males and the often violent protests that have followed.
Civil rights group like the ACLU are frustrated that the White House has failed to take stricter steps in holding America's police accountable.
“I can’t believe two years into this crisis that we’re still having conversations about data,” said Kanya Bennett, a lawyer in Washington for the American Civil Liberties Union, which met with the Justice Department to discuss the plan.
With President Obama leaving office in three months, Ms. Bennett said, “this is essentially being punted to the next administration.”
Many Americans have noted that race relations have not improved under President Barack Obama as his voters hoped. It has, in fact, gotten severely worse.