In Kansas City, Missouri, Black people are far more likely to be subjected to use of force by the police, according to data attained by the Kansas City Star from 2019 to July 2021.
Of more than 600 examples of use of force in Kansas City, about 330 of those were against Black people. That’s more than 57% of the incidents even though African Americans make up only 28% of Kansas City’s population.
“Use of force can involve police using bullets, bean bag rounds, police dogs, Tasers, pepper spray and their own bodies,” according to the Associated Press.
Of all the incidents reported, 75% of them happened when police were called for service and the other 25% were considered “self-initiated activity” or off duty.
From the Associated Press:
Civil rights organizations last year called for a Department of Justice investigation into how Kansas City officers treat communities of color. In November, a white detective was convicted in the shooting death of a Black man. Days after the verdict, it was announced that Chief Rick Smith would leave the department this spring.
Mayor Quinton Lucas said he and other members of the Board of Police Commissioners should examine the disparity in use of force incidents.
“Data like this suggests perhaps that we certainly have more evaluation to do,” Lucas, who is Black, said.
Ken Novak, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said the fact that Black people are over-represented in use of force incidents doesn’t necessarily reflect racism.
“What I think we can say is that is indicative of the perhaps more confrontational nature of police-public encounters with people of color,” Novak said. “People of color experience policing differently than majorities ... that speaks to maybe an unequal protection.”
It was found that of the 170 encounters that required hospitalization, 60% of the people sent to the hospital were Black. Although, not every hospitalization was a direct result of use of force, according to the Associated Press.
Data showed that 41 of the incidents involved officers using the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint, which police say is safer than a chokehold. But, after the murder of George Floyd, some activists think all neck restrains should be banned.
More from the Associated Press:
Officers cited many reasons for using force. In some cases, the person had a weapon or went for an officer’s gun. Others kicked or punched the officer.
But in several instances, someone who “refused to move” was met with pepper spray, bean bag rounds or stunned with a Taser. In numerous other instances, the reason listed was “non-compliant” or “other.”