AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Georgia's poor record of reporting police shooting deaths

Law enforcement agencies across the country have done a poor job reporting when police kill citizens with roughly half the 1000 in-custody deaths per year never getting tracked by a federally-mandated Justice Department program.

News outlets such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Washington Post -- through significant investigative reporting projects in the past two years -- have helped fill in the gaps left by the deficiencies in the federal program.

Part of the problem with the ARD program is reporting by states is voluntary, but when Congress re-authorized the program in 2014 it gave the Justice Department authority to penalize states who fail to report. The law allows the attorney general to withhold up to 10 percent of federal law enforcement grants.

Now, several civil rights and human rights groups are asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to enact the provision and punish states who fail to report, which in Georgia's case could be costly. The state has received $5.3 million Justice Assistance Grants in 2016, according to the Daily Beast.



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About the Author

Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.