An analysis from The Wall Street Journal found that more than 550 police killings between 2007 and 2012 weren't included in the FBI's national tally.
The report looked at data from 105 of America's largest police agencies and found that it is "nearly impossible to determine how many people are killed by the police each year." FBI numbers about police killings vary greatly from those provided by the Centers for Disease Control and by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Journal looked at internal FBI records and found that while the 105 departments had 1,825 police killings, only 1,242 were reported as "justifiable homicides" by the FBI.
The Journal "identified several holes in the FBI data" — of the 105 agencies contacted, justifiable police homicides from 35 agencies weren't in the FBI records at all. Police in Washington, D.C., for example, didn't report police killings to the FBI from 1998 to 2008, when the city "had one of the highest rates of officer-involved killings in the country."
In 28 of the 70 agencies that did report homicide data, the FBI report was missing records of police killings. And "missing from the FBI data are killings involving federal officers." Public demand for transparency about police killings has increased after Michael Brown's shooting, the Journal notes, so the report could be a push for more information about officer-involved homicides.