This paper draws from critical data studies and related fields to investigate police officer-involved homicide data for Los Angeles County. We frame police officer-involved homicide data as a rhetorical tool that can reify certain assumptions about the world and extend regimes of power. We highlight the possibility that this type of sensitive civic data can be investigated and employed within local communities through creative practice. Community involvement with data can create a countervailing force to powerful dominant narratives and supplement activist projects that hold local officials accountable for their actions. Our analysis examines four Los Angeles County police officer-involved homicide data sets. First, we provide accounts of the semantics, granularity, scale and transparency of this local data. Then, we describe a “counter data action,” an event that invited members of the community to identify the limits and challenges present in police officer-involved homicide data and to propose new methods for deriving meaning from these indicators and statistics.
- Los Angeles