Programmers have created an interactive map documenting over 500 instances of police brutality nationwide since the 2020 George Floyd protests began.
Grown out of a megathread on the subreddit /r/2020PoliceBrutality, it was made into a Github repository with the goal of “assist[ing] journalists, politicians, prosecutors, activists and concerned citizens who can use the evidence accumulated here for political campaigns, news reporting, public education and prosecution of criminal police officers.”
The Github comes with a multitude of ways to visualize or make accessible the hundreds of incidents of police brutality. You can filter the incidents by city or state, organize them based on the video source, track them on a timeline, or view it all as a set of statistical figures,
The interactive site is pretty straight forward: there are hotspots on a map of the United States that show how many incidents have been recorded in each state. You can click on the hotspot and it’ll zoom in on the geographic locations where each act of police brutality was documented. Each act comes with the date, a short description, and sources ranging from video recordings to multiple tweets and news reports confirming police violence.
These sorts of efforts have been ongoing since the earliest days of the protests when police first began to violently suppress protests. On May 30, T. Greg Doucette, a criminal defense lawyer, created a Twitter thread to track videos posted online of police brutality. The thread went viral almost immediately and he’s added hundreds of videos to it since.
Federal authorities have been using social media posts to target protesters for a long time, but their attempts to quell dissidence and unrest have only changed some aspects while further accelerating the law enforcement’s crisis of legitimacy. That the police response to protests sparked by police violence has been to respond with more violence is not a coincidence; when faced with accusations of rampant bias in policing, law enforcement responded by using tech that only deepened that discrimination.
With the constant violence done by police this past month, not to mention the violence done by police since their origin, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is what the police are meant to do: to brutalize us. When you look at that map and watch those videos, does that seem like a reformable institution? Or one that needs to be abolished and replaced with systems that center care and safety, not violence and control?