While the San Francisco Police Department’s new use-of-force policy remains in limbo as The City and police union have yet to finalize the policy’s implementation, new data about the department’s uses of force and arrests has been released.
The third quarterly report from the department was released earlier this month, which shows that the pattern of force use has stayed stable regarding how often officers use force, against whom and what type of force they use.
The latest data shows that pointing a gun at someone remains the top reported incident of use of force, followed by physical restraint. Pointing of a firearm became a reportable use-of-force incident beginning in December 2015, the same month a group of officers killed Mario Woods in the Bayview.
The report, which includes data from July, August and September, also shows that the department continued to arrest black people at a higher rate than other groups.
“The vast majority of police contacts with members of the public do not result in a use of force,” reads the report. “In the third quarter of 2016, the department responded to 162,150 calls for service. Of the 162,150 contacts during this timeframe, force was used in 318 incidents which represents less than 1 percent of the department’s total contacts. During these 318 incidents, 460 officers reported using force on 430 subjects resulting in 915 individual documented uses of force.”
The data release is part of an ongoing effort to keep track of when San Francisco police officers use force. The department started to deliver the data following a local law written by Supervisor Malia Cohen as part of larger efforts to track police activity as a way to measure bias and unfair policing.
Of the 915 use of force incident reports from July to the end of September, 630 involved pointing a gun, and 156 were reports of physical control being used. The third most common use of force, 65 reports, involved striking a subject and 22 involved using impacts weapon.
Only six involved the controversial carotid hold, which was barred by the newly passed Department General Order that’s still under negotiation with the San Francisco Police Officers Association.
The Bayview station had the highest number of use-of-force incidents with 223, followed by Mission station with 123.
Force was used more against black people than other groups throughout the department during the third quarter.
During that period the department arrested 5,138 people, which is also a reporting requirement. The top police station in terms of arrests was Tenderloin with 947, followed by Mission station with 834.
Department-wide, more black people were arrested than any other group in the third quarter, at 2,036. There were 1,552 white people arrested and 1,026 Latinos.
The previous two use-of-force reports showed similar numbers.
From April to June there were 925 use of force reports, the most being reported out of the Mission station with 172 reports. In all, 67 percent of the incidents involved pointing a gun during this period. The carotid hold was used twice.
Of the use of force incidents, 379 involved black subjects followed by 229 against Latino subjects.
During the second quarter, 5,178 arrests were made across the department. The largest number of arrests — 2,027 — was black people.
From January to March there were 947 uses of force reported, including 47 percent against black people and 26 percent against white people. Department-wide there were 5,416 arrests in the first quarter, with black people making up 40 percent of those arrests.
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