The lack of accurate information about police-involved shootings is roiling the nation's law enforcement community, leaving officials unable to say whether high-profile killings are isolated events or part of an alarming trend, FBI Director James B. Comey said Wednesday, reports the Washington Post.
Speaking to a private gathering of more than 100 politicians and top law enforcement officials, Comey expressed frustration that the federal government has no better data on police shootings than databases assembled this year by The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper.
"It is unacceptable that The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper from the U.K. are becoming the lead source of information about violent encounters between police and civilians. That is not good for anybody," he said.
"You can get online today and figure out how many tickets were sold to 'The Martian,' which I saw this weekend. . . . The CDC can do the same with the flu," he continued. "It's ridiculous — it's embarrassing and ridiculous — that we can't talk about crime in the same way, especially in the high-stakes incidents when your officers have to use force."
Mayors, police chiefs and state attorneys general said the lack of data is contributing to a dangerous trend in which police officers spurn aggressive tactics for fear of becoming the next officer to be caught on camera in a compromising situation.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) implored U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to stand up publicly for police officers and show them that the nation's top cop has their back.