First encounter

The data is right here, folks! It wouldn’t hurt any to read our caveats here, though.

Hello. Our efforts to collect information about officer-involved deaths going back to January 1, 2000, is completely funded by donations. Today, December 28, we’ve got 17,598 records of people killed during police interactions in the database. We’re about 84 percent of the way to the total of what we think will be about 20,784 total records in early 2017. Please donate here.
Thank you,
D. Brian

“The nation’s leading law enforcement agency [FBI] collects vast amounts of information on crime nationwide, but missing from this clearinghouse are statistics on where, how often, and under what circumstances police use deadly force. In fact, no one anywhere comprehensively tracks the most significant act police can do in the line of duty: take a life,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal in its series Deadly Force (Nov. 28, 2011).

This site is founded upon the premise that Americans should have the ability to track that act. This idea was conceived in the wake of the Oct. 6, 2012, killing of a naked, unarmed college student, Gil Collar, at the University of South Alabama. Media reports contained no context: How many people are killed by police in Alabama every year? How many in the United States?

It turned out that Collar was on drugs, including marijuana and the hallucinogen 25-I. It also turned out the freshman never got within 5 feet of the officer, and the officer attempted no less-lethal methods to subdue Collar. On March 1, 2013, the policeman was cleared of wrongdoing.

You can contribute by adding data about people killed by police.

Fatal Encounters is intended to help create a database of all deaths through police interaction in the United States since Jan. 1, 2000. You can check to see how far we’ve gotten with your state here. We have three main methods of collecting information. They are, in order of numbers of records in the database: 1) Paid researchers; 2) Public records requests; 3) Crowdsourced data.

For those who’d like to help with older incidents, please go to the Master Spreadsheet to find incidents to research of people killed by police prior to 2013. Next check the person’s last name in the database to see if he or she has already been included. Finally, to add your research on people killed by police, go to the upload form.

New incidents of people killed by police are slightly different. First, check the person’s last name in the database to see if he or she has already been included. Then, to add your research on people killed by police to the database, go to the upload form.

This site will remain as impartial and data-driven as possible, directed by the theory that Americans should be able to answer some simple questions about the use of deadly force by police: How many people are killed in interactions with law enforcement in the United States of America? Are they increasing? What do those people look like? Can policies and training be modified to have fewer officer-involved shootings and improve outcomes and safety for both officers and citizens?

D. Brian Burghart