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Police Complaints Board Releases Report on Stop and Frisk Data Review

Monday, October 5, 2020
Board urges increased transparency of stop and frisk data

(Washington, DC)  – The District of Columbia Police Complaints Board (PCB), the governing body of 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 urging MPD to move forward with publishing a comprehensive review of its stop and frisk data and inform the public of the progress made to date.  

In September 2019, MPD released their first Stop Data report, which showed that Black community members were the subject of 70 percent of the stops, but only 46 percent of the DC population is Black. The report also addressed whether this data showed that bias exist against specific groups and that a comprehensive analysis is needed to determine if the stops were bias.

In March 2020, MPD released an updated Stop Data report. This report showed that Black community members were the subject of 72 percent of the stops conducted by MPD officers. The Department stated again in this report that a comprehensive analysis is needed to determine if the data indicate bias and have partnered with The Lab @DC to develop a plan to ensure transparency.

The PCB is concerned that the public has not been made aware of what steps MPD has taken thus far in conducting a comprehensive analysis of the stop and frisk data from their Stop Data reports.  To that end, the PCB recommends the following to help improve and facilitate better relations and increase trust between MPD and community members:

  • MPD immediately make public any steps already taken to initiate a comprehensive analysis of the stop data. This should include entities MPD has consulted with on their plan, and what issues, if any, have caused the delay in starting the analysis (see footnote 11 in report).
     
  • MPD must continue to keep the public apprised of the progress of this comprehensive analysis through regular updates to the Stop Data Report page on the MPD website. While it is understandable that an examination of the data may be a time-consuming process, MPD must be as transparent as possible about the status of this work, including any existing partnerships undertaken to analyze data. This should include, at a minimum, identifying the entities performing the review, the cost of the review, and the expected date of completion.

“MPD has taken steps to begin a comprehensive analysis of the stop data from their first two reports,” said Michael G. Tobin, OPC’s executive director. “However, we believe MPD should be transparent with the public about the steps they are taking to examine the stop data and the progress being made.”

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