The Force Report is a continuing investigation of police use of force in New Jersey. Read more from the series or search your local police department and officers in the full the database. Lydia Couch feels like an enemy in Millville, not someone police are sworn to protect. Altaif Hassan was raised learning how to avoid police confrontations, yet still ended up with an officer’s assault rifle trained on his back in October at Rowan University. And Aprille Smith will not call the Maplewood police, even if she’s in trouble. All three of them are black, and all three see police as an obstacle — or worse, a danger — in their lives. It’s all they know. “I don’t call the police for anything now,” said Smith, 42, said. “I can’t. Because I know it’s just going to end up being more trouble for me.” They’re not alone.
In communities across New Jersey, generations of black residents have believed police focus more on them, are more likely to stop and question them, and more likely to get aggressive and handcuff them. That increasingly frustrates officers who say they go where the crime happens, regardless of skin color, and that they, too, are under enormous scrutiny. They say they just want to lock up criminals, keep people safe and get home at the end of the day. It’s an impasse of two competing experiences, without a clear solution and with little evidence to prove where bias actually might exist. But now, there’s a trove of never-before-seen data exposing the truth.
As part of The Force Report, a 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, the news organization filed 506 public records requests and collected 72,609 forms covering every restraint, punch, kick or other use of force by local police and state troopers from 2012 through 2016, the most recent year available. The resulting database provides hard evidence of racial disparities in police use of force across New Jersey. Among the findings:
Black people are three times more likely to face some type of police force than whites. In 68 cities and towns, black people were at least five times more likely to face force. In Millville in South Jersey, they were seven times more likely. In Lakewood, they were an astounding 22 times more likely.
Black people were more likely to face nearly every kind of force used by police, including punches, kicks, pepper spray, baton strikes and dog attacks. They were more than twice as likely to be shot. Black children faced a disproportionate amount of force. Of the more than 4,600 uses of force against people under 18, slightly more than half were black. But they account for only 14.5 percent of the state’s child population. The data shows white people are more likely to show aggressive behavior toward police, like threatening or attacking police with a car, knife or gun. Black people are more likely to run away. “It is the data on the front end that is able to show without a doubt the injustice that’s being done,” said the Rev. Charles Boyer, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Woodbury and the founder of Salvation and Social Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group focusing on civil rights reform through the clergy.
siehe auch: The Force Report. Five years. 72,609 documents. Every local police department in N.J. We built the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force in the U.S. Search the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force in the U.S. The Force Report, a 16-month investigation by NJ Advance Media, found New Jersey’s system for tracking police force is broken, with no statewide collection or analysis of data, little oversight by state officials and no standard practices among local departments. Two decades ago, officials envisioned a centralized database that would flag potentially dangerous cops for scrutiny. But that database was never created. So we built it.