Report: Pittsburgh Police Use Of Force Higher During Black Arrests

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is releasing a new report detailing the bureau’s use of force from 2010 to 2015.

“In keeping with our efforts to build police community trust through data transparency, I directed a 5-year study of our police involved use of force. The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police tracks incidents in which an officer uses force with a subject. These Subject Resistance Reports were analyzed to identify trends and areas in which further evaluation or action is warranted,” explains Chief McLay.

According to a statement from McLay, analysis shows that use of force by Pittsburgh Police is rare, “occurring in less than one percent of all calls for service.” One in 10 arrests involved use of force and 34 percent of use of force incidents resulted in injury to a suspect.

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The number of incidents decreased by by 16 percent over the five-year period analyzed in the report, but the decrease did not keep pace with a concurrent decrease in the number of arrests.

“Over the past six years, there has been a higher-than-expected use of force rate for individuals who are black, even when controlling for the differences in arrest patterns by race,” the report states.

However, McLay points out that the disproportionality is decreasing and the 2015 rate is half the 2010 rate.

Most officers used force between “one and five times” in a six-year period.

In all, 120 officers said they used force more than 25 times.

Officers who work in areas with more crime filed more reports saying they encountered resistance while on the job.

“The officers themselves, especially in Pittsburgh do a great job. They’re under so much scrutiny, and everybody has a cell phone. And even things that might not warrant a specific action because they acted properly are immediately believed to be improper,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.

The City of Pittsburgh has been tracking the force used by police since it joined an initiative by the United States Department of Justice to decrease police brutality.

You can read the entire report here. 

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