Thursday, August 15, 2019

MAP sues FBI (and others) for failure to report thousands of homicides

The nonprofit Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal law enforcement agencies for failing to obey a 31-year-old Congressional mandate that homicides and other major crimes must be reported to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the nation's official accounting of major crimes.

That federal law enforcement agencies have ignored the Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988 became apparent when MAP determined earlier this year that half of Native American homicides committed from 1999 through 2017 were not reported to the UCR or to its related Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). At least 2,400 Indian murders were not reported, MAP determined.

The FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have jurisdiction to lead criminal investigations on many Indian reservations but failed to report either the occurrence of these crimes or whether they were cleared through the arrest of the offenders. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Department of Defense have also failed to report to the Justice Department many thousands of homicides and other major crimes for which they had jurisdiction.

The 1988 law requires all federal law enforcement agencies, including those within the Department of Defense, to report crime data including homicides to the Justice Department. The Act further requires that the Justice Department “shall report” these data to all “institutions participating in the Uniform Crime Reports program.” MAP relies upon the UCR and SHR to monitor homicides and makes these data available at this website.

"The American people have the right to know how they are being murdered and whether those murders are being solved," said MAP Chairman Thomas K. Hargrove. "We reluctantly are suing federal law enforcement agencies under the Freedom of Information Act to compel them to obey a Congressional reporting mandate."

To download a copy of MAP's 71-page federal complaint, click here.