One year ago today, the White House released The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing — 116 pages of recommendations meant to address the epidemic of killings of unarmed Black and brown people by the police officers sworn to protect them. The report was supposed to be a blueprint for reforms in policing this country has needed for decades. Yet 12 months after its publication, our government still can’t even come up with the number of people who have been killed by U.S. police.
“[E]mbarrassing and ridiculous”—that’s how the director of the FBI characterized our government’s lack of data on killings by police. He also said it’s “unacceptable” that we have to rely on two newspapers — The Guardian and The Washington Post — to get national estimates for these statistics.