The Justice Department survey had the potential to reveal whether officers were more likely to use force in diverse or homogeneous cities; in depressed areas or wealthy suburbs; and in cities or rural towns. Did the racial makeup of the police department matter? Did crime rates?
But when the data was issued last month, without a public announcement, the figures turned out to be almost useless. Nearly all departments said they kept track of their shootings, but in accounting for all uses of force, the figures varied widely.