Saturday, April 13, 2019

Austin PD misreported use of force data at traffic stops

After The Atlantic and the Austin Chronicle picked up on the data Grits first crunched in this blog post regarding use of force and Class C arrests at Texas traffic stops, the Austin Police Department issued a correction regarding its use-of-force data in the department's most recent, annual racial profiling report.

New reporting on use of force was mandated by the Legislature as part of the 2017 Sandra Bland Act, which required departments to include much more data about traffic stops than anyone had ever seen from local agencies. So police were reporting much of this information for the first time (though presumably it's all recorded somewhere in internal records).

According to Chief Bryan Manley, APD statisticians included the number of ALL use of force incidents resulting in bodily injury, rather than only those that occurred at traffic stops. That reduced their 2018 number from 921 - which put them at the highest statewide rate among larger agencies - to 80, which shifts the agency toward the back of the pack when it comes to the rate of use of force.

With APD's correction, Houston PD takes the prize for using force at traffic stops at higher rates than any large agency. More on this Monday when Just Liberty releases a new report analyzing these data.

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