Continuing “without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both within law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” [Comey] wrote in a message accompanying the release of the FBI’s crime statistics for 2014.
This is not the first time Comey has criticized the lack of data available regarding how often police officers shoot and kill people. While the federal government does track some fatal police shootings, federal officials have acknowledged that this data is incomplete. Not all agencies in the United States participate in the voluntary reporting system, which had left a considerable gap in the ongoing public discussion.
Earlier this year, Comey joined former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., who called the lack of information about the shootings “unacceptable,” notes the report.
The criticism came after protests against police violence following several high-profile law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed Blacks, including Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The good news is that officials will no longer be able to deny the problem of police violence based on a lack of national data. The bad news is that the statistics will highlight a problem we are all too familiar with.