How Many Police Shootings? Reno Editor Keeps Count


Two years ago, a police shooting in his town prompted D. Brian Burghart, editor of the weekly Reno News & Review, to seek the answer to what he thought was a simple question: How often do cops kill people in the United States? “Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police,” he writes in Gawker. “How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn’t being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn’t have a way to compare to other cities?”

So Burghart began his own count, a crowd-sourced national database of deadly police encounters at the website His list now includes thousands of entries and is growing rapidly. He writes, “The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.”

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