Nearly every work day, NPMRP collects incidents of police misconduct around the United States. We do this as a service to show the American people–and the world–how our police officers are treated when they are the subjects of investigation and our justice systems. We keep track of the stories as they happen and try to follow-up, when possible, as many of the cases take years to work their way through the administrative, civil, and criminal processes.
Dr. Anna Feigenbaum of Bournemouth University (UK) has taken our data from 2015 and visualized it in the map below. Some basic information about the data can help contextualize what the map says:
- To be included in the data, the incident was committed, to the best of NPMRP’s knowledge, by a person who was employed as a sworn law enforcement officer at the time of the incident. That is, part-time officers and most correctional officers who do not have arrest powers are not included. Likewise, people who committed crimes after being terminated from law enforcement are not included.
- The data is inherently incomplete. We can only collect stories from news organizations and thus unreported incidents or allegations on social media are not included. We also understand that although we try to be as thorough as possible in our searches, we know we do not catch every news story from across the country. Thus, any trends in the data should not be overstated to directly represent national or local trends.
- While NPMRP keeps track of stories that happen over years, Dr. Feigenbaum only included incidents that happened in 2015 in her visualization. Also, only one entry was used for each incident. So, for example, if an officer was fired, arrested, tried, and convicted (or acquitted) of a battery of a suspect, it was only included once, even though there may have been multiple entries in the database.
- Incidents in our database are not assertions of guilt. Law enforcement officers are entitled to the presumption of innocence just like every person brought into our criminal justice system. Inclusion is simply an accusation that is credible enough to have triggered administrative, civil, or criminal action that warranted news coverage. The NPMRP makes a point to be as consistent about reporting acquittals and exonerations as we are terminations and convictions.
- Incidents are color coded and listed by the prevalence and frequency of the type of offense as it appears in the data. Click on the colored dots to get more information about the incident that happened in that jurisdiction.
- The refined dataset can be found here. Dr. Feigenbaum’s full-size map can be found here.
Many thanks to Dr. Feigenbaum and her team for their work with this data.