People killed by police

Everyone knows that when Michael Brown was shot dead by a US police officer on 9 August last year, rioting exploded in Ferguson.

Everyone also knows that Michael Brown’s shooting was not an isolated incident.

But no one knows exactly how many people have been killed by police in the US - because no government agency is keeping track.

Enter People Killed by Police, a compelling interactive data viz created by Brian Beltz, Mike Perez and Tim Ronan from 1 Point 21 InteractiveBrian Beltz recalls, "After reading story after story of people being killed by LEOs, I wanted to look at the data to see exactly how often it happened." Finding that no such database existed, he decided to use crowd-sourced information from Fatal Encounters

People Killed by Police at first appears to be a chaotic series of criss-crossing lines, each one representing a single death. It is only when you begin to filter - by year, race and manner of death - that it becomes possible to spot trends and potential problem areas.

This attempt to organise chaos is essential to the piece, since the key message of People Killed by Police is not the sheer number of people that have been killed by police, but rather how such an important subject has escaped government monitoring. As lead developer Tim Ronan explains, "Most of the information we have available has already been clouded with opinion and bias. We wanted to provide the available information while neutralising opinions on the basis that, without concise data [being] recorded, it is impossible to create a fact-based overview of the issue at hand."

1 Point 21 Interactive are a new data visualization and interactive content agency based in San Diego.

Posted in Inspiration — almost 8 years ago