More than half of BART police use-of-force incidents in 2017 involved Black men, report finds

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Kavya Narendra Babu/Staff

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The BART Police Department Patrol Operations Bureau’s annual use-of-force report found that of the 340 people BART PD used physical force on in 2017, more than half were Black men.

While Black people constitute 12 percent of BART customers according to the most recent data, which is from 2015, the report presented to the BART Police Citizen Review Board at its June 11 meeting found that among all the use-of-force incidents in 2017, 50.9 percent involved Black males and 14.7 percent involved Black females.

The data also showed that in 83 percent of use-of-force incidents, the suspect was not injured; officers were not injured in 85 percent of incidents. According to the report, this trend indicates that officers are using the minimal level of force necessary for each incident.

BART PD told the review board that there are still “many additional factors to consider” before the data can be properly interpreted, according to BART spokesperson Chris Filippi. BART PD is also partnering with the Center for Policing Equity, or CPE, in order to prepare a comprehensive study to offer more context.

“(BART PD) has supplied CPE with extensive data for analysis,” Filippi said in an email. “CPE is currently focused on preparing California agencies for compliance with Assembly Bill 953.”

AB 953, or “The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015,” aims to crack down on the discriminatory practice of racial and identity profiling and to increase accountability with law enforcement agencies by mandating that police departments report information on police stops.

According to the report, Russell Bloom, independent police auditor for BART, recommended that the force level and associated documentation requirement be determined by a supervisor instead of the involved officer.

The report also noted that “no direct conclusions” should be drawn from the data at this time.

Contact Mani Sandhu at [email protected].

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