I’m Shocked, Shocked to Find That Gambling Is Going On in Here!

Matthew G. Saroff
2 min readDec 7, 2022

Hoocoodanode that the FBI would be systematically under-reporting fatal police shootings?

I am writing this with a deeply shocked expression on my face. (Not)

Reporting is voluntary for law enforcement agencies, and the FBI is still the misbegotten spawn of J. Edgar Hoover, so covering up the extant of police shootings is a cultural imperative:

Fewer fatal police shootings are recorded by the federal government every year, despite renewed scrutiny of police use of force and millions of dollars spent to encourage local law enforcement to report the data.

Even though federal records indicate that fatal shootings by police have been declining nationwide since 2015, The Washington Post’s Fatal Force database shows the opposite is true: Officers have shot and killed more people every year, reaching a record high in 2021 with 1,047 deaths. The FBI database contains only about one-third of the 7,000 fatal police shootings during this time — down from half when The Post first started tracking.

Fatal shootings by officers in at least 2,250 police and sheriffs’ departments are missing from the past seven years of federal records, according to an analysis of the database maintained by The Post, which began tracking the killings in 2015. The excluded data has created a misleading government picture of police use of force, complicating efforts at accountability.


Criminologists say that a lack of accurate FBI data makes it difficult to know the full scope of police use of deadly force, despite renewed scrutiny that began with the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.

This is a feature, not a bug.

From top to bottom, law enforcement culture drives the subversion, and sabotage of any measure that would improve police accountability.

“To Protect and Serve,” is a bit of particularly dark humor.