Since 2015, following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the Washington Post has maintained what many consider to be the definitive database on fatal police shootings. Now, a new Post analysis shows that the Jersey City Police Department registered zero fatal shootings in the period from 2015 to 2021.
The analysis came this week in an otherwise damning article. According to the Post, despite FBI statistics to the contrary, fatal police shootings nationally have increased, reaching a record high in 2021.
“Officers have shot and killed more people every year, reaching a record high in 2021 with 1,047 deaths. The FBI database contains only about one-third of the 7,000 fatal police shootings during this time — down from half when The Post first started tracking.”
The Post ascribed much of the disparity between its statistics and those of the FBI to the fact that “at least 2,250 police and sheriffs’ departments are missing from the past seven years of federal records.” While the FBI asks all law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report such killings, reporting is only required for federal law enforcement.
Jersey City police might not have received a perfect zero but for a bit of “luck.” The deaths of David Anderson and Francine Graham, who carried out the December 2019 attack on a kosher deli in Greenville, were ascribed to state police.
And this year, breaking a six year period with no fatal shootings, Jersey City police were responsible for one such death, that of Joseph Robertson who was shot and killed in May. According to police accounts, Robertson was shot as he grabbed a woman and threatened her with a gun.
Using the Post database, the Jersey City Police Department stacked up well compared to other forces in similarly sized cities.
FBI WaPo Per 1k Officers Newark 8 8 1 Saint Paul 9 9 2.1 Pittsburgh 5 7 1.1 Greensboro NC 1 5 1.1 St. Louis MO 23 23 2.7 Lincoln NE 2 3 1.3 Plano 3 4 1.4 Anchorage 13 13 4.6 Durham NC 1 4 1.2 Jersey City 0 0 0 Chandler AZ 4 8 3.4