UCLA IS Students Host Hackathon to Examine Imprecise Data Sets on Police Brutality

Students seek to grow awareness of community organizing, data mining of records in LA County.

A team of Ph.D. students from UCLA’s Department of Information Studies will present a Hackathon on Police Brutality Data in Los Angeles County on Saturday, Feb. 14, 12-4 p.m. at Decafe in Perloff Hall. The event, which is open to the public, focuses on how police brutality data, which is often imprecise, is captured and disseminated among state and federal organizations, and the holes in existing data. The findings will be officially presented at a panel during the Social Media Expo at iSchools’ annual iCONFERENCE in March.

Reporters and data journalists, Armand Emandojeh, Nicole Santa Cruz, and Malloy Moore from the LA Times’ Homicide Report will be speaking along with Andrew Schrock, a Ph.D. student from USC’s Innovation Lab. The Hackathon has been organized by doctoral students Irene Pasquetto, Jennifer Pierre,and Brittany Paris, and Ph.D. candidates Ashley Sands and Morgan Currie, who are also members of the research group on police brutality.

“The cases of Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, and many others have drawn attention to the need for data on police brutality to be collected and disseminated in ways that are useful to communities in which these acts are perpetrated,” says Paris. “This data can be useful to individuals, community groups, journalists, and legal teams interested in holding these public officials accountable for their actions.”

“Data on justified and unjustified police homicides should be easily accessible and comprehensible for every citizen,” says Pasquetto. “In other words, it should be open. During our research we verified that this is not the case. A multitude of complex, disconnected, and contradictory federal databases constitute the only source of information. It is the people’s right to be informed.”

The talks will begin at noon, to be followed by a panel discussion. Finally, attendees will be organized into sessions that will be determined by their responses to the event registration form at this link. Free pizza will be provided based on the number of registered attendees.

Decafe is located at 1302 Perloff Hall, on the UCLA campus. The Hackathon event is free and open to the public. However, registration is required to organize the event. To attend, click here.

For more information on the event, contact parisb@ucla.edu.