Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wooginator police shootings database recognized

Kudos to Grits contributing writer Amanda Woog; the Houston Chronicle picked up her story from this post about cities in Texas with the most police shootings, which itself elaborated on this excellent article from the UK Guardian.

Let me repeat for the record that Grits couldn't be more proud of the Wooginator's work on the Texas police shootings database. Because many shootings aren't reported in the press, and some which are reported in the press aren't reported to the Attorney General, we wouldn't have a clear picture of this new data and what it means if Amanda's hadn't picked up the slack.

Going forward, police shootings promise to become an increasingly important flashpoint in local and national criminal-justice politics. The New York Times yesterday ran a story titled, "Police chiefs say scrutiny over videos has radically changed their work"  which related how, "in an age of widely disseminated video footage of fatal police shootings as well as other accusations of abusive police behavior, some chiefs say the heightened level of scrutiny has radically changed their work — making jobs more difficult, far more political and much less secure. Being fired by a mayor on live television now comes with the territory." The article included this quote from the Houston chief:
“Police chiefs definitely have a shorter shelf life post-Ferguson, and they are more scrutinized and criticized for things they weren’t held responsible for before,” said Charles McClelland, Houston’s police chief, who said he agreed with the change in focus. “Pre-Ferguson, you were held responsible only for the crime rate — now it is community relations. One egregious act of misconduct by a police officer can get a police chief fired. It wasn’t like that before.”
Closer tracking of police shootings - including some which no one outside of the involved parties knew occurred before new Lege-mandated reporting began in September - adds data to anecdote in these debates. IMO it's a meaningful and significant contribution. Great job, Amanda.


Charles Kuffner said...

In re: "the Wooginator", you do realize that I hear you say that in Rob Schneider's voice. Whether you consider that a bug or a feature is left to you to decide. :-)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I did not originate the nickname, but I enjoy it.