Discussing a variety of justice issues, Lynch stated that she isn’t in favor of a federal mandate to report people killed by police, “The Department of Justice is not trying to reach down from Washington and dictate to every local department how they should handle the minutia of record keeping, but we are stressing to them that these records must be kept.”
Lynch made mention to the fact that many small police departments might not have enough resources to keep adequate records. She also stated that the bigger issue was the distrust between certain communities and law enforcement, “The statistics are important, but the real issue is what steps are we all taking to connect communities that often feel disenfranchised and disconnected with the police and with government.”
Following a year of numerous police killings of unarmed black citizens, many look to government and the data released from police for information and statistics; however, many sources and numbers aren’t reliable. According to FBI Director James Comey, police departments may voluntarily submit information on “justifiable homicides” to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“To continue in our current system without comprehensive data only stalls meaningful conversation and fuels empty debates, both with law enforcement and in the communities we serve,” said Comey earlier in the year, “I don’t have the power to require people to supply us with data.”
Following the Attorney General’s discussion and some public uproar, a Department of Justice spokesperson said, “[Lynch’s] broader point was that while maintaining data to record police interactions is important, we should be focused on preventing those interactions by improving relationships between local law enforcement and their communities.”
Hear more from General Attorney Lynch at the Washington Ideas Forum below.
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