"It is a narrative driven by video images of real and gut-wrenching misconduct, by images of possible misconduct, by images of perceived misconduct," Comey said. "It's a narrative given force by the awesome power of human empathy."
He insisted that nobody knows whether black people are more likely to be shot by police, due to a lack of data.
“Americans actually have no idea if the number of black people or brown people or white people being shot by police is up, down or sideways over the last three years, five years, 10 years," he asserted.
Comey then lamented about how officers must now think twice before making late-night traffic stops, for fear that they could kill someone and become the next viral video.
"Our officers see the videos. They desperately do not want to be in one. They think about that all the time," he said.
He also spoke about how a deep mistrust of police in United States is preventing people from reporting crimes, "and so into the chasm, into that gap of distrust, fall more dead young black men. In places like Chicago, we know what the chasm looks like and how much pain it causes.”
The US Department of Justice is in the beginning phases of implementing a federal database of use-of-force information, similar to what the Guardian, Washington Post, and Killed By Police took upon themselves to build.
"We need to collect actual, accurate and complete information about policing in this country so that we have informed debates about things that matter enormously," Comey stated.
Last month, at an FBI oversight hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, before being derailed with an argument over the presidential election, Comey claimed that there is not enough data to have an informed discussion about police brutality, despite that other databases already exist.
“All of those conversations are uninformed today. They are all driven by anecdotes because as a country, we simply don’t have the information to know: Do we have an epidemic of violence directed by law enforcement against black folks? Do we have an epidemic involving brown folks, white folks? We just don’t know. And in the absence of that data, we’re driven entirely by anecdotes. And that’s a very bad place to be,” Comey told the committee.
On a subsequent episode of Sputnik’s Unanimous Dissent, the hosts countered that, during the week of Comey’s testimony alone, there were multiple news reports of African-American men killed by law enforcement.
“How many videos of black men with their hands up in the air getting shot do we have to see for people to believe that it was possible that Michael Brown also had his hands up in the air?” host Sam Knight asked.