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

Tuesday, October 13, 2020
(Report includes updated information from 2017 and 2018; new data on vehicular pursuits and ECD deployment

(Washington, DC) – The Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today released its third 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 year’s Use of Force report provides updated information from OPC’s 2017 and 2018 reports as well as simplified shooting data for 2019 officer-involved shootings. In addition, this report includes new data on vehicular pursuits and electronic control device (ECD) deployment.

OPC found a total of 1,220 MPD officers used force in 2019, which represents an 8 percent decrease over the 1,332 officers who used force in 2018. However, from 2015 (872 officers) to 2018 there has been a 40 percent increase in the total number of MPD officers who reported using force.

Similar to 2018, Black community members were the subject of 91 percent of all reported uses of force in 2019 compared to 6 percent for white and 3 percent for Hispanic community members. Males were the subject of 85 percent reported uses of force and females, 15 percent. Additionally, white officers, male officers and younger officers reported using force at a proportionally higher rate while community members that were black, male, and younger were the subjects of force at a proportionally higher rate.

OPC also found that tactical takedowns and control holds were the most common type of force used, which accounts for 70 percent of all uses of force. Firearms pointed at subjects were the highest level of force used in 15 percent of uses of force.

Further, the Use of Force Review Board reviewed three fatal vehicular pursuits, one that occurred in each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. The UFRB did not review any fatal vehicular pursuits when it convened in 2017 or 2018. Additionally, the UFRB made 24 determinations regarding ECD deployments in 14 cases. The UFRB concurred with 21 out of the 24 recommendations by MPD’s Internal Affairs Department.

As a result of its review and analysis of MPD officers use of force, OPC made no new recommendations for 2019 but identified previous recommendations that have not been implemented. In 2017 and 2018, OPC made eight and three recommendations respectively. To date, MPD has fully implemented five, partially implemented three and not implemented four.

“More so than ever, police use of force is still a major concern throughout the nation,” said Michael G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director. “It is important for the public to know how, when and on whom MPD is using force. Transparency is key in helping to increase community trust in the police department. This is an important report that we hope will inform the public on the nature of police use of force in the District and shape the policies, training, and culture of MPD.”

To view the full report, visit www.policecomplaints.dc.gov.