July 22nd, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

More 'Shocking' Info on Portland Police Use of Force


We reported today about new stats showing Portland police use Tasers on people with mental illness more than anyone else. Here are five more nuggets from the Independent Police Review report issued last week, which covers data from November 2007 to November 2008.

Fact 1: African-American subjects are the only racial group that's subjected to use of force at a greater rate than they get arrested.

Black subjects made up 25 percent of arrests, but also 29 percent of use-of-force reports. Whites have force used on them less often than they get arrested (58 percent versus 60 percent). Latinos also have fewer force reports than arrests (7 percent versus 10 percent).

Fact 2: Men get rougher treatment than women.

When force is applied, men are more likely to get struck, Tasered and pepper-sprayed. Women are more likely to receive "physical control," meaning put in a hold. Also, female officers are less likely to use force than male officers.

Fact 3: Seventy-five times that officers used force, they did not indicate any resistance by the subject.

That's slightly more than 3 percent of all 2,438 use-of-force reports submitted during the 12-month period. IPR director Mary-Beth Baptista says the officers who wrote those 75 reports did not mark a box indicating what type of resistance the subject used. That doesn't necessarily mean the subject did not offer resistance, Baptista says.

Fact 4: No charges were filed in 29 percent of all use-of-force incidents.

Those subjects had force used against them but were never charged with a crime. The top crime charged after force was used? Assault 4 (domestic violence), which was charged against the subject in 35 percent of cases where officers used force against the subject.

Fact 5: Most times there was no injury to the subject when force was used.

There was no injury to the subject indicated in 65 percent of the 2,164 use-of-force reports officers wrote from March 2008 to February 2009. The most common of the 595 injuries reported were abrasions (281 total). Officers also reported breaking subjects' bones eight times in that period.
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