Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

White Police Officers in Prince George’s Disproportionately Use Force Against Blacks: Report

Although the Prince George’s County Police Department has recently garnered a reputation for its use of force against Blacks, a report with new unredacted information made public Thursday claims it has been that way for several years.

The report compiled by Michael E. Graham shows that out of more than 6,800 use-of-force incidents between January 2016 to the end of 2019, about 86% happened to Black civilians and 8% against Latinos.

The new information also highlights 19 officers accounted for 685, or 10%, of those incidents. Fourteen of the officers were white and six of them had no such cases involving white civilians. The report doesn’t show the officers’ names.

“The percentage of black civilians subject to use of force is significantly higher than its demographic composition of the County population,” according to the nearly 100-page report written by Graham, a former officer with Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. “In other words, the Department appears to use force disproportionately against black civilians. There are significant deficiencies in the Department’s administration of its use of force policies, as well as its assessment and investigation of uses of force.”

Graham’s report, filed at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, comes in connection to an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2018 by former and current Black and Latino Prince George’s officers. The suit is being led by former county police officer and retired Capt. Joe Perez, president of the Hispanic National Law Enforcement Officers.

Discrimination also extends to the promotion of officers, according to the report.

Two of the highest-ranking positions in the police department — lieutenant and captain — are largely held by white officers, at 61% and nearly 81%, respectively.

Blacks account for about 27% of the department’s lieutenants and 19% of its captains. Latinos are only 5% of the department’s lieutenants, and none are captains.

The county’s population of more than 909,000 is 64% Black and 19% Latino.

“Captains and Lieutenants play critical roles in the Department, including significant roles in enforcement of EEO policies, the investigation and discipline of misconduct, the assessment of uses of force, and community relations,” the report said. “The failure of officers of these ranks to reflect the community may contribute to some of the discriminatory trends observed in this report.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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