How lack of transparency enables police brutality

We know police brutality is a serious problem in the US, but law enforcement agencies are able to suppress the key information.

In Paul Harris’s Guardian story “Police brutality charges sweep across the US”, an expert in American policing at Bowling Green State University named Professor John Liederback identified an absence of research into the issue of police brutality as a key weakness in understanding and reducing the prevalence of police brutality in theUnited States. He is sadly correct: the last federal study of police brutality in the US was undertaken 10 years ago by the US department of justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – and that was based on data voluntarily supplied by a mere 5% of the law enforcement agencies in the US.

Since then, data concerning the issue of police brutality has become increasingly difficult to compile because of restrictions on the release of law enforcement disciplinary and complaint information. In fact, 45 states now place restrictions on the release of information about police misconduct; 22 of those prohibit the release of any disciplinary information whatsoever. This makes the gathering of data on police brutality a very difficult endeavor, even for the federal government, especially since some of these states even prohibit the sharing of disciplinary information to other law enforcement agencies.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/25/lack-transparency-enables-police-brutality

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