Group of Black Lawyers and Judges Seeks Dallas Police Data to Root Out Brutality
The National Bar Association says it has filed an open-records request with the Dallas Police Department for information regarding police brutality.
A national organization of black lawyers and judges is still awaiting a response from the Dallas Police Department to the group's recent request for 10 years worth of public information "regarding the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody."
National Bar Association President Pamela Meanes says the group is seeking data from 25 cities that have a history of police violence in minority communities. She expects the police departments to be cooperative, and the group has already heard back from Kansas City and Little Rock, Arkansas. The association will sue if necessary to get the data.
"The ultimate goal is to identify police departments that have a pattern of abuse so the the federal government can come in," she says.
At least some of information her group is seeking may soon be available online to everyone. Dallas Police Chief David Brown told a community meeting Thursday night that the department will soon publish, for the first time, information on officers' use of deadly force. "This will be detailed briefings of all our police shootings dating back to 2003 to current," he said.
A local group, Dallas Communities Organizing for Change, has already had some success requesting similar information from the department. Last year, the DCOC asked for data on all officer-involved shootings from January. 1, 1987, to August 11, 2013. They received enough information to create a report.
The organization analyzed the numbers between July 20, 2002, and July 18, 2013 and found that Dallas police officers shot 197 suspects, 58 fatally. Of those who died, 33 were black, or about 57 percent. Whites accounted for 15 of the 58, or about 26 percent, and Hispanics accounted for 10 of the 58, or about 17 percent. Of those suspects who were shot but not killed, 71 of 139 were black. (You can see the full report below.) According to the 2010 census, blacks make up 25 percent of Dallas' population.
When members of the organization look at the numbers, they see a pattern. "Upon analysis the data provides a clear picture of overwhelming bias in the application of deadly force against blacks and Hispanics," the introduction to their 2013 report reads, "and makes a striking argument that Dallas Police use race as a determining factor in using force against an individual."
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