2014 review of APD shows racial disparity

A review of the Austin Police Department shows a significant disparity between racial groups when it comes to arrests, searches, and use of force.

FOX 7 spoke with the Office of the Police Monitor, the one behind the 20-14 report that was released Monday.
She says APD needs to make some changes.

Those filing the most complaints against the Austin Police Department are African Americans. When it comes to stops and searches, arrests and use of force - they also land on top. It's something that comes as a concern to Austin Police Monitor Margo Frasier.

"What I often hear anecdotally is, 'we feel like we're being targeted.' When you look at it you go, well, perhaps there is some truth to that," says Police Monitor Margo Frasier.    

Our local NAACP president feels the same way.

"Those things are very concerning and they need to be explained," says Nelson Linder, NAACP President.

A 2014 report on APD was released Monday by the Office of the Police Monitor. It looks at behavior patterns of officers and makes recommendations on policy, procedures and discipline.

This is the first time the monitor's office analyzed arrest and use-of-force data by race and ethnicity. What was found isn't equal.

"People say, 'oh are you saying the police department is racist?' I say 'no, that's not what I'm saying but what I do think, is that we all have our intrinsic biases,'" says Frasier.

The report shows: African Americans made up 24% of all arrests in Austin in 2014 and in 28% of those arrests, an officer reported having to use force. 

Police Monitor Fraiser says African Americans were subject to use of force more often than Caucasians. 

"I think the more training that we give officers, the more likely they are to be able to resolve a situation without force. Often you here it referred to as de-escalation training," says Fraiser.

"I think these numbers tell us a story here, that there are issues here that are dealing with African Americans," says Linder.

The report also shows: African Americans had a 1 in 6 chance of being searched if stopped by an officer, Hispanics had a 1 in 9 chance, Caucasians had a 1 in 22 chance.

"Our numbers are always higher than the population, that's been since inception. So i think we deserve answers. I want to see them talk about what's the theory. Why is that the case? Obviously it's racial profiling, I think. How do you explain that to your officers to make sure these numbers are reflective of your populations?" says Linder.

In 2014, 1,116 people contacted the Office of the Police Monitor or APD's Internal Affairs Department wishing to file a complaint against one or more members of APD. 

A little more than half of those actually resulted in some type of complaint being filed. There were 227 formal complaints.
 

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