Data shows police use of force against black people excessive statewide
Joshua Solomon and Emilie Munson are reporting for the Times Union newly released data shows that half the time police in New York used force it was wielded against a black person, a rate substantially disproportionate to the state's overall population, which is 18 percent black. In the Capital Region, some police departments, including Albany, Troy and Schenectady, reported that black people accounted for more than 60 percent of cases in which they used force. That force was defined as anything from chokeholds to deploying Taser-like devices and chemical agents to brandishing and shooting firearms. At least 10 people statewide died after police used force out of more about 7,000 use of force cases between July 2019 and October 2020, according to information reported by police agencies to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and released last week. In the Capital Region, the Troy City Police Department had the sixth-highest number of use of force incidents among any police department statewide. Out of 131 people the Troy police used force on in the 15-month reporting window, 61 percent of the time the person was black. About 18 percent of Troy residents are black, according to the US Census Bureau. The Schenectady City Police Department had the ninth-highest tally of use of force cases. Out of the 102 people the department used force on, 62 percent of them were black. About 20 percent of city residents are black. And 31 of the 37 people the Albany City Police reported using force against were black, in a city with an overall population that is 29 percent Black. The statewide tally released does not include deaths that followed force used by the New York City Police Department, because the state's largest police department, refused to report such figures to the state. Release of the report was slowed by lawsuits and pushback from conservatives and some law enforcement officials. They argued that reporting the information would constrain officers' work and make the streets less safe. Read the full story in the Times Union.