Data Points

A look at police use of force against people of color

By August 5, 2019 August 8th, 2019 No Comments
(Photo by Tony Webster via Wikipedia)

Police used force against people of color most often in Contra Costa and Solano counties during the 2016-17 period, according to the Bay Area Equity Atlas.

Five out of every 100,000 people of color were subjected to acts of force by police, both fatal and non-fatal, in each county, the highest in the region, Atlas researchers found. The Bay Area Equity Atlas is a repository of data focused on quantifying racial and economic inequality in the region. 

San Francisco and Marin counties had the lowest rates of police use of force, at one person of color per 100,000, according to the Bay Area Equity Atlas. Even at low rates, use of force against people of color can spark unrest because black and brown people are disproportionately affected by police action.

The data show the rate of police use of force against all civilians was about zero in Marin County, and about four per 100,000 in Contra Costa County.

Here’s how the counties rank by police use of force on people of color per 100,000 in population. 

1
1. Contra Costa County — 5
2
2. Solano County — 5
3
3. Sonoma County — 3
4
4. Napa County — 3
5
5. San Mateo County — 3
6
6. Alameda County — 3
7
7. Santa Clara County — 2
8
8. San Francisco County — 1
9
9. Marin County — 1
1. Contra Costa County — 5
2. Solano County — 5
3. Sonoma County — 3
4. Napa County — 3
5. San Mateo County — 3
6. Alameda County — 3
7. Santa Clara County — 2
8. San Francisco County — 1
9. Marin County — 1

“It’s a crisis situation right now,” said James Burch, policy director for the Anti Police-Terror Project, a Bay Area group whose mission is to try to curtail police violence in communities of color.

Burch said police are not being held accountable when officers use force and the causes and consequences of the action are often not clear to the public. He attributed the relatively high rates in Contra Costa and Solano counties to the lack of accountability, which is stronger in San Francisco and Alameda counties.

Source: Bay Area Equity Atlas; Anti Police-Terror Project