- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

SEATTLE (AP) - A look at some key excerpts from a review of how Seattle police officers have used force since the city entered a 2012 consent decree with the Justice Department to overhaul policies, training and record-keeping:


“The Monitor finds that overall use of force by the SPD is down - both across time under the Consent Decree and compared to the time period studied by the original DOJ investigation. Overall, use of force has gone down even as officer injuries have not gone up and crime, by most measures, has not increased. At the same time, the force that SPD officers do use is, by and large, reasonable, necessary, proportional, and consistent with the Department’s use of force policy.”


“Of the 2,385 incidents in which force was reported, only 1.6 percent (or 39 incidents) involved Type III use of force - the most significant use of force incidents - a number that includes the fifteen officer-involved shootings. In the context of overall police activity … this means that of the 759,383 unique incidents to which officers responded or on-viewed during this review period, less than 0.00003% involved a greater than moderate (Type II) level of force.”


“An average officer used reportable force, of some level, in approximately 3.3 incidents over the course of the 28-month evaluation period.”


While blacks make up 8 percent of Seattle’s population, they constituted about one-third of people subject to uses of force by police. That said, the severity of force used against black residents remained proportional to the severity of force used across the population at large, the report found.

“Although non-white subjects may be overrepresented vis-à-vis the population, a subject’s race does not appear to predispose him or her to more or less serious force.”


“An important concern raised about the changes to policies and procedures mandated by the Consent Decree is that alterations to how force is used by the Department would put officers at greater risk of injury. … There were 597 reported officer injuries in the 28-month period of this study, with a median of 20.5 per month.

“The number of injuries is flat over time during the July 2014 through October 2016 study period. … Put most simply, officers are more likely to be injured when it is more likely that they need to use force - and the number of force incidents has trended down significantly.”

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