Fairfax County Board To Scrutinize Police Data on Use-of-Force Incidents

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors wants more analysis of data that points to the disproportionate use-of-force against black individuals by county police.

Two years ago, the Fairfax County Police Department released a study that found that 40 percent of use-of-force cases in 2015 involved black individuals.

In response to the study’s release, the board directed Police Auditor Richard Schott “to review the statistical disparity between the level of African-American use-of-force incidents and the African American population in Fairfax County,” according to the county.

Completed last year, Schott’s study on the police department data didn’t satisfy the supervisors’ questions.

“The report did not yield any clear causes based upon race, but noted additional evaluation of use-of force data would be needed for the following years,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said yesterday reading from the motion. She added FCPD has new procedures and trainings that might provide more useful data on use-of-force interactions.

Following the 2017 study, Police Chief Edwin Roessler has been trying to find an academic partner to help with data analysis for further use-of-force studies, but hasn’t found a “suitable” partner yet, Bulova said.

In a joint effort, Bulova and Braddock District Supervisor John Cook presented a motion yesterday (May 7) to direct the police auditor to coordinate the search for an academic or researcher to review the disparity and then report findings and any recommendations to the board.

“As the Police Auditor has experience with compiling similar types of reports, I am in favor of the Police Auditor’s office overseeing the search for an academic partner and completion of the use-of-force study,” Bulova said.

Initially, the motion just focused on hiring an academic partner, but, at the suggestion of Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, was changed to also consider hiring a research partner.

Herrity took issue with the comparison used to evaluate the disparity, saying that analysis should not compare use-of-force victims to the Fairfax County population, since they may not reside in the county.

“Almost half of the use-of-force against African Americans involved non-residents,” he said. “If we’re going to compare it to our population, we need to do an apples to apples.”

He later clarified his comments, saying, “I agree it doesn’t matter if you’re a resident or nonresident. You should be treated fairly.”

Cook responded by saying that the 40 percent still indicates a racial disparity, regardless of residency.

Fairfax County isn’t the only place scrutinizing local police use-of-force data and looking to address police violence against minorities at disproportionate rates.

The mayor of Ithaca, New York ordered an investigation into an incident between local police and a black man and woman, with some people criticizing the police on their use of force after videos of the incident were released.

A bill in California that would make it easier to file criminal charges against police officers who use lethal force when other options were available has received widespread support following the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man shot by police in Sacramento last March.

Over in Wyoming, all law enforcement officers now must complete training every two years, which includes courses on when and how to use force.

A study by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health found that the disparity between black and white individuals who are not known to be armed and are shot by police increases as racism on the state level increases.

FCPD recently released its annual crime report, which listed 500 uses-of-force incidents in 2018. The report does not provide a demographic breakdown for use-of-force incidents.

File photo

Recent Stories

The Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by David Taube) With the 2022 elections now in the rearview mirror, five Fairfax County supervisors have already confirmed that they will be…

Fairfax County police are investigating a robbery scheme where fake gold jewelry is offered for cash (via FCPD) The Fairfax County Police Department is investigating a “cash for gold robbery…

Closed sign (via Tim Mossholder/Unsplash) With a high office and commercial vacancy rate and over 1,000 locals experiencing homelessness, Fairfax County is considering a zoning change that could use one…

Fairfax County Public Schools (file photo) Fairfax County Public Schools failed to give needed educational services to “thousands” of students with disabilities when it pivoted to virtual learning due to…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


Subscribe to our mailing list