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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Inaugural report by independent agency leads to eight recommendations

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today released a report to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Council of the District of Columbia, and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Peter Newsham regarding the use of force by MPD officers.

OPC reviewed and analyzed data beginning from Fiscal Year 2013 on all types of force incidents involving MPD officers, divisions, and officer ranks.  In addition, the agency reviewed the Department’s policies, procedures, and practices regarding officer use of force.  

OPC found there were 2,224 total reported uses of force by 1,074 MPD officers in 991 districts.  In addition, the number of reported use of force incidents increased by 36% over the previous fiscal year and the Fifth and Seventh Districts together (Wards 5, 7, and 8) accounted for 38% of all reported use of force incidents. 

The agency also found that since FY13, Black community members were the subjects of 89% to 93% of reported uses of force.  Additionally, males were the subjects of 80% to 90% reported uses of force, while females made up less than 20% of reported cases per year.

As a result of its review and analysis of MPD officers use of force, OPC recommends the following ways the Department can improve data collection and allow for a more complete examination of policies, procedures, and training:

  • MPD should create a single use of force General Order that combines all existing guidance into one document.
  • MPD should eliminate the Reportable Incident Form (901-g).
  • MPD should collect all use of force data electronically.
  • MPD should increase the amount of information captured in the Use of Force Incident Report (UFIR).
  • MPD supervisors should carefully review all use of force reports prior to approving them for final submission.
  • MPD should clarify the definition of contact controls and report contact controls on UFIRs.
  • MPD should resume collection of additional data from firearm discharge incidents.
  • MPD should require all officers to complete a UFIR immediately following a use of force incident.

“Police use of force is a major topic of discussion and concern across the nation,” said Michel G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director.  “Our analysis sheds light on the particulars of how force is used by MPD and will help inform the Department of policy and training issues that need to be addressed.  While MPD has made strides to improve, the report makes it clear that there is still work to be done.”

To view the full report, please OPC’s website at www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.