TULSA, Okla. — Black residents were between 2½ to 4 times more likely than white residents to have force used against them by Tulsa police officers in the past six years, according to an analysis of police data.
Even though rates involving police use of force against black residents dipped in 2014 and 2015, officers still used force 2½ times more frequently against blacks than whites last year, the Tulsa World reported (http://bit.ly/2diDbbt ).
The per-capita analysis relied on use of police force data by race for the past six years and American Community Survey figures.
A recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center also suggests a disparity between how black and white residents perceive the use of force by police.
The survey found that three-quarters of whites believed police officers do a good job determining how much force to use in each situation, but just one-third of black residents felt the same way.
“(White residents) never had to have a conversation with their kids or brothers about how to react if and when they are stopped by police in order to get out of their situation without either being killed or mistreated,” said Pleas Thompson, the NAACP Tulsa chapter president. “Because they haven’t been subject to that, of course they would tend to think everything is OK. But everything is not OK.”
Tracey Meares, a professor at Yale Law School, said police departments should focus more on public security rather than public safety and not settle for what she called “aggressive and proactive policing.”
“And that is why I think we see so many instances in which folks with broken taillights or people selling loose cigarettes and so on and so forth are in a situation in which some form of aggressive policing could be the result,” Meares said.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com