Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2020.06.10 edition

Black Lives Matter protests, police violence at the protests, police reforms and union contracts, police militarization, and tech’s response.

Black Lives Matter protests. An unnamed geospatial analyst has been mapping “every town or city I can find where a George Floyd / Black Lives Matter protest, action, or vigil has occurred since May 25” — more than 2,600 so far. The data files powering the map include each city’s name, state/region, country, coordinates, and the date it was added. Related: For a study of the relationship between police-caused deaths and demonstrations, Williamson et al. built a dataset of Black Lives Matter protests in 2014 and 2015.

Police violence at the BLM protests. Several groups are collecting examples of disproportionate police responses to the protests against police brutality. One such collection, spurred by criminal defense attorney T. Greg Doucette, has compiled hundreds of instances of “unnecessary violence by law enforcement officers against civilians”; for each one, the underlying spreadsheet provides the city and state of the incident, links to visual documentation on Twitter and YouTube, and a short description. Another collection, which emerged from the /r/2020PoliceBrutality subreddit and seeks “to accumulate and contextualize evidence of police brutality during the 2020 George Floyd protests,” also includes incident dates, an interactive map, and APIs. Related: Bellingcat and The Guardian have compiled a spreadsheet of 140+ “reports of arrests, violence, and intimidation against journalists” at the protests. [h/t anjakefala + Aric Toler]

Police reforms and union contracts. Campaign Zero’s advocates for eight specific reforms to curtail police officers’ use of force, including bans on chokeholds, requiring de-escalation tactics, and establishing comprehensive reporting. The organization has compiled the use of force policies for 100 large police departments, and determined whether they’ve instituted these reforms. (Direct CSV download here.) And at, the organization has gathered police union contracts in major cities and assessed whether they contain language makes it harder to hold officers accountable for misconduct. [h/t Samuel Sinyangwe]

Police militarization. The US Defense Logistic Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office sends surplus Department of Defense equipment to local law enforcement agencies, through an arrangement known as the 1033 program. The Pentagon publishes quarterly updates of the equipment transferred — which can range from coffee makers to rifles to entire aircraft — but only began doing so after the program came under intense scrutiny for its role in the militarized police response to the 2014 Ferguson protests and police militarization in general. Related: Despite the criticisms, the 1033 program has sent police departments hundreds of millions of dollars in military equipment since Ferguson, including more than 490 mine-resistant vehicles, my colleague John Templon reports.

Tech’s BLM statements. The Plug, a news site that focuses on the Black innovation economy, has been assembling a dataset of statements made by tech companies on racial justice, Black Lives Matter, and George Floyd. The dataset links to more than 200 statements so far and includes each company’s name, the timing of the statement, and other relevant context, such as the URL of their most recent diversity report and the percentage of employees and/or leaders who identify as Black. [h/t Sherrell Dorsey]