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Office of Police Complaints Releases 2nd Annual Report on Use of Force by D.C. Police

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Reported use of force incidents have increased 83 percent since 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today released its 2nd annual Use of Force Report to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Council of the District of Columbia, and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham. This second report provides updated statistics from OPC’s inaugural report published in 2017 as well as new statistics and information.

In 2018, OPC found that a total of 1,332 MPD officers used force, which represents an 18 percent increase over the 1,122 officers who used force in 2017. In addition, the total number of reported use of force incidents increased by 20 percent over the previous year.  OPC also found that 32 percent of MPD use of force reports were incomplete, inaccurate, or otherwise deficient.

The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Districts reported the most use of force incidents, which together accounted for 59 percent of all uses of force by MPD officers.  Additionally, Black community members were the subjects of 90 percent of all reported uses of force in 2018 compared to 6 percent for white and 3 percent for Hispanic community members.  Males were the subject of 83 percent of reported uses of force.

Further, OPC made eight recommendations in its Fiscal Year 2017 Use of Force Report to improve data collection and allow for a more complete examination of policies, procedures, and training.  Of the eight recommendations made, MPD has partially implemented four and not implemented four. 

As result of its review of progress made on the FY17 recommendations and analysis of 2018 use of force data, OPC makes four new recommendations that address deficiencies in the Department’s policies, procedures, and training regarding officer use of force:

  • MPD should reduce the upward trend of use of force incidents.
  • MPD should make essential fields of the Use of Force Incident Report/Reportable Incident Forms electronically mandatory.
  • MPD should correctly label fist strikes in its Personnel Performance Management System.
  • MPD should provide officers a training update reminding them that fist/knee strikes are not compliance techniques.

“Police use of force remains a major topic of discussion and concern across the nation and the District of Columbia,” said Michel G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director.  “Understanding the circumstances of when force is used will help us improve the policies and practices of MPD and ultimately assist in increasing community trust.”

To view the full report, please OPC’s website at