Privacy SOS

Legislation on reporting killings by police moves to Obama’s desk

Hard to call this good news given its subject, but via the Wall Street Journal, evidence that the nationwide struggle for justice is heard loud and clear in the chambers of power:

The Senate cleared and sent to President Barack Obama legislation that would provide strong incentives for states and federal law-enforcement agencies to report deaths in custody and during arrests. The House passed the legislation a year ago.

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis found that among 105 of the largest police departments in the country, about 45% of killings by officers went unreported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2007 and 2012. Currently, reporting is optional and records from nearly every agency in three large states, Florida, New York and Illinois, aren’t in the FBI’s data.

The Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 that cleared the Senate Wednesday would tie federal dollars to state reporting and require the federal government to report all deaths of people detained, arrested or in the process of being arrested and incarcerated.

If this measure is signed into law, we might soon have a better sense of how many people are killed by law enforcement or die in custody each year.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.