Over 3,000 Faces of Police Violence Added to Cop Blaster

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Cop Blaster now features over 3,000 Faces of Police Violence as part of an effort to import the Mapping Police Violence database into the CopBlaster.com database. This first batch of records focuses only on reports of people killed by police in the United States from 2013 through June of 2020 for which images could be downloaded.

Mapping Police Violence is an online database that documents officer inflicted deaths in the United States. They make their database available to all in Excel format. We downloaded the Excel file that was current as of June 2020 and did our best to download all of the image URLs included in the spreadsheet in bulk. Unfortunately, the vast majority of URLs were broken, so we were only able to download a little over 3,000 images. We then uploaded those images to our server and did a bulk insert into our database for just the records that we thought we had downloaded images for. Unfortunately, a lot of those did not actually end up with images either, but the vast majority did, so we are currently doing our best to provide images for the ones that we thought had images at this time. After that is finished we will add the remaining records that do not have images. There are about 6,000 records that do not have images. Then we will periodically update the data as data becomes available from Mapping Police Violence.

The biggest disappointment with the Mapping Police Violence data was that a lot of image URLs listed in their database were from KilledByPolice.net which does not host images anymore. We tried contacting them for copies of images that were hosted there but never heard back. Then a lot of image URLs in their database resulted in 404 errors due to news sites removing old articles or hosting images on different servers. Then there was a problem with duplicate generic image names (ex: download.jpg or image.png) for which we did not have time to figure out which was which.

You can browse the Faces of Police Violence by visiting the MappingPoliceViolence user profile (https://copblaster.com/blaster/MappingPoliceViolence/). We will be adding a link to an article about this project under the Data Dumps menu in the site navigation when it is all finished. We hope that by doing this we will give the friends and families of the victims a place where they can honor their memories with commentary. Mapping Police Violence does a great job aggregating data and displaying it on an interactive map, but they did not create individual posts for each report like we just did. This gives anyone the ability to contribute to each report by posting comments below each post. Comment features like that are growing increasingly useful as mainstream news organizations move a away from allowing users to post comments on their sites.

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