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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 27th, 2014
06:29 PM ET

Why isn’t there an official database on police killings?

(CNN) – The circumstances surrounding the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager shot and killed by a police officer, sparked a national conversation about issues of police brutality and excessive force.

Brown is one of several high profile police killings in recent weeks. There is also Eric Garner, who was killed while in an NYPD chokehold and pinned to the ground; John Crawford, the Ohio man killed while holding what turned out to be a BB gun inside a Walmart; and Dillon Taylor, an unarmed man who was shot outside a Salt Lake City 7-Eleven while police responded to reports of a man carrying a gun.

But for anyone inspired by these cases to seek out information on just how often police killings happen, there's a good chance you discovered the same things we did - the numbers simply aren't out there.

And it's not because we are all using the wrong search engine. There is actually no database, federal or otherwise, that tracks police killings.

There is, however, data on police officers killed on the job – the FBI reports 27 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2013.

Now, one journalist has decided to take matters into his own hands, compiling his own database of officer involved killings on a website called Fatal Encounters.

Editor of the the Reno News and Review Brian Burghart joins CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" to discuss what he has learned from his two years of collecting data on police killings.

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