#60: How Often Do Police Shoot Civilians? Don't Ask the Government

photo: [ name ] ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

photo: [name] (CC BY-SA 2.0)


The federal government doesn't record anything when police shoot civilians, and there's no official national database to tell us how big or complex the problem is.

One newspaper journalist says he learned a lot requesting documents from more than 400 jurisdictions in his home state alone. In six years and more than 800 shootings, not one incident resulted in criminal charges.

Ben Montgomery is an award-winning reporter for the Tampa Bay Times whose piece “Why Cops Shoot” was published earlier this year. He's also the author of "Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail.”

Check out unofficial national databases about police-involved shootings from The Washington Post and The Guardian U.S.