For every police killing that garners national attention, there are dozens that go unnoticed. And while the US government doesn’t keep an official record of police shootings, it’s becoming increasingly clear that such records are badly needed.
That’s why The Guardian started keeping its own tally last week, using social media, local news reports, and public records. The project, called “The Counted,” is an open, interactive database cataloging the men and women killed by the police in the United States this year. At 479 deaths far, The Guardian’s estimates are roughly twice as high those offered up by the FBI.
You can search the site by specific names, filter by race and ethnicity, state, gender, age, and cause of death. Each person reported in the database has an information card detailing the circumstances of death and the status of his or her case, as well as links back to the original source. Anyone can to send The Guardian a tip on any individual case on file or one not yet reported. Entries can be added, removed and revised as soon as new information becomes available.
Jon Swaine, a reporter at The Guardian, spoke to NPR about the project:
We’re looking at local media reports. We’re looking at police and coroner press releases. Sometimes they’re not noticed by the media. We’re talking to people via this system that we’ve built now where the people can submit tips, can submit news if friends or if people they know or if they’ve even seen something happen. So we’re really - I mean, we’re making an attempt to cast an eye over the country, and obviously we’re open to the possibility that we, too, are missing some and they’re not being reported. But we thought better to make an effort and try to make a more comprehensive database.
Take a moment to have a look at the site. It’s a harrowing experience, but we all need to start opening our eyes.