Speaking before thousands of law enforcement officials from across the United States and overseas, FBI Director James Comey made stark comments about the “epidemic” police shootings of Black Americans at the International Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego.
His reasoning? Stats don’t lie. It appears that the federal government doesn’t have an accurate count of police shootings, and an outside study done by elite universities suggests white people are often the targets of lethal force in the nation’s major police departments.
While Comey acknowledged that the US is experiencing a “uniquely difficult time in American law enforcement,” he however added that the impression that the police are “violent and racist and unfair” is an ill-informed notion.
He further insinuated that this “epidemic” is merely fueled by images and videos of police encounters posted online. Thus, “good people” have come to believe that “biased police are killing at epidemic rates” with black men and women as the unfortunate targets.
Comey noted that these small amounts of recorded videos are making it harder for police to do their jobs and protect the communities they have sworn to protect. He likewise suggested that these are making police departments in recruiting new officers difficult.
Furthermore, he said Americans across the country will be “deeply, deeply sorry” if people stop choosing to serve the country through law enforcement.
The FBI and Justice Department have vowed in the next couple of years to create a national database detailing police shootings and other uses of force by federal, state and local law enforcement.