In a testament to the lack of accountability for America’s police, law enforcement agencies aren’t even required to maintain records of lethal encounters or report them to the federal government. So there aren’t official nationwide statistics on the number of Americans who die at the hands of police.
At a press conference Wednesday, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said he would back legislation that would force police departments to report civilian killings.
“When individuals die under police apprehension or police custody, should that be mandatory? Yes,” Sanders told The Guardian. Shockingly, not all public officials agree; Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said she opposes forcing local departments to report killings to the federal government.
While no comprehensive data exists on the number of fatalities directly linked to drugs, the Drug War Chronicle compiles a count of drug war deaths based on media reports (including officer deaths). They counted 54 in 2011, 63 in 2012, 41 in 2013, and 39 in 2014.
Watch footage of Sanders’ remarks, as posted online, below.