Monday, October 20, 2014

Mapping Police Brutality


After the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson by a police officer a number of Ferguson citizens came together to form Hands Up United.

Hands Up United's goal is in the short-term to get justice for the shooting of Mike Brown and, in the long-term, to help prevent future incidents of police brutality. To help achieve this goal Hand Up United has released an interactive map to which anyone can post reports of police brutality or police misuse of power.


This Google Map from the Cato Institute shows the location of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids in the United States.

The Cato Institute argue that "the Drug War (has) given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of 'no-knock' or 'quick-knock' raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users."

The Botched Paramilitary Police Raids map uses colored map markers to show raids that led to the death of innocent people, the death of a non-violent offender, the death or injury of a police officer etc. It is possible to refine the data on the map by state, year and by outcome.


Home.Land.Security say that there are many websites dedicated to mapping crime but not many that are mapping where people feel vulnerable because of the police themselves.

Home.Land.Security claim that many individuals  "including people of color, queer folks, and undocumented immigrants" see a police presence as itself a threat. They have therefore determined to map police shootings and targeted arrests for what they call "quality of life" crimes in San Francisco. 

The Home.Land.Security map allows users to view the locations of 'Officer Involved Shootings' and reported  "Quality of Life Crimes". It is also possible to load demographic data onto the map and to view San Francisco neighborhood boundaries.
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