My wife is working on a sociology degree. In one of her classes, she is working on a project where she is supposed to highlight a community issue where a “fallacy” exists. She chose to look at police misconduct, and the fallacy that she chose to highlight is the notion that, wherever police misconduct occurs or is alleged, it is an “isolated incident” and therefore there is no systemic problem.
She is complaining that there is no database or website that she could find with reliable statistics, so she researched newspaper articles where police misconduct was alleged in South Carolina, within the past 3 years only, and drew a map showing the allegations by county, to illustrate why the “isolated incident” excuse is a fallacy:
Her map includes only incidents that were reported by the news media, and it does not include all incidents that were reported by the news media, because she was more concerned with showing how many counties it spans rather than creating an all-inclusive list. The incidents on her map only go back three years. Some involve officers that were charged with crimes, and they are innocent until proven guilty. Others may involve officers that were not charged with a crime, that were disciplined, or that were not disciplined by their departments. All are credible reports of misconduct, however.
The only way I know of to track allegations of misconduct is through the media reports, which certainly only contain the tip of the iceberg. At one time, the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project was the most reliable collection of media articles nationwide, released daily. Ironically, it was more reliable when one individual was in charge of publishing the statistics, but it appears to be useless/severely under-reporting since it was taken over the CATO institute. I can only compare to the media reports in South Carolina, but they miss most of them.