Interactive map said to show deaths by law enforcement

A national civil rights organization has created an interactive map provided to USA TODAY that it says shows deaths of civilians by law enforcement officers throughout the last 14 years.

The map, made by the organization ColorofChange.org, uses data extracted from police agencies across the country from 2000 to 2014 and appears to show concentrations of deaths in the New York and Los Angeles areas. The map can be accessed at

KilledByCops.org.

The data comes from FatalEncounters.org, a website that pulls together information on deaths of people who are killed through interactions with police. The site was created by D. Brian Burghart, editor and publisher of the Reno (Nev.) News & Review.

ColorofChange.org, an online civil rights organization, acknowledges the data is not complete, but says it created the map to push for a federal mandate that would require police organizations to keep complete data on civilian deaths involving the police.

"The Killed by Cops map begins to give us a clearer picture of the overall problem," Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, told USA TODAY.

"Better data collection and transparency can lead to increased accountability for officers that violate civil and human rights," Robinson said. "More broadly, it can help us understand the full scale of what's happening, and ensure that the scale of the solutions match the scale of the problem."

ColorofChange.org was founded in 2005 by Van Jones, former White House green jobs adviser, and James Rucker, former director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn.org, in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The head of one national organization representing law enforcement said Friday that his organization is all for thorough collection of data. However, Bill Johnson, executive director of National Association of Police Organizations, contends ColorofChange.org should realize that such efforts are already in the works.

Federal legislation signed Thursday by President Obama will require states that receive certain federal allocations to report death information to the attorney general on a quarterly basis. The bill is known as the Death in Custody Reporting Act.

"I think (ColorofChange.org) is far behind what actually is happening," Johnson said. "It's already literally on the books."

The creation of the map accessible at KilledByCops.org comes as the country continues to debate the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., and Tamir Rice in Cleveland -- all black males who died during altercations with local police. In the first two cases, grand juries opted not to indict police involved, setting off waves of protests that have lit up across the country for the last several weeks. Circumstances in all three cases were different, but some members of law enforcement have said force appeared necessary in all three cases.


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