The New York City Police Department has released its 2016 Annual Use-of-Force Report, the first of its kind. This report marks the first time the NYPD has produced a comprehensive accounting not only of firearms discharges but of conducted electrical weapons (CEW) discharges, commonly known as “Tasers,” general uses of force, and injuries incurred by officers in adversarial confrontations. Aggregate data on firearms and CEW discharges cover the full year. Aggregate data on general uses of force is available for only the latter seven months of the year because this type of enhanced data collection on general uses of force did not exist within a single unified format until June 2016.
“As part of our commitment to accountability, we revised this report to provide a more comprehensive accounting of use of force by our Department,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “By bringing data on all use-of-force incidents together in one document, we are providing a more complete picture of these incidents.”
During the last seven months of 2016, the period during which the new NYPD Use-of-Force Policy and reporting system were in effect, there were a total of 4,087 reported use-of-force incidents, 63 percent involving arrests. Of the 4,612 individuals subjected to any level of force by police, 95% reported minor or no injuries. During the same seven-month reporting period, four officers were shot by subjects, one police officer was shot and killed, and another 1,855 police officers were injured.
The years 2015 and 2016 have seen the lowest number of police firearm discharges since 1971, when this data was first officially recorded. There were a total of 72 firearm discharges reported in 2016, of which 37 were categorized as intentional discharges during confrontations. Twenty-one of the subjects who were fired upon by police were armed with firearms, nine with cutting instruments, and two with blunt instrument weapons. Two subjects were shot while using a vehicle as a weapon of assault. One person, a bystander, was killed with a police firearm that had been forcibly removed from an officer’s holster. A total of 32 individuals were injured by police firearm discharges in confrontations, nine of which resulted in fatalities.
The remainder of the firearms discharges in 2016 were instances involving animal attacks, unintentional/accidental discharges and unauthorized discharges, including cases of police officer suicide.
Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEW) were discharged at subjects 501 times during 2016. Of these incidents, 258 occurred during arrests; 240 during encounters with emotionally disturbed persons; and three during animal attacks.
The report details the implementation of NYPD’s new Use-of-Force Policy, which took effect June 1, 2016. The policy consolidated all use-of-force procedures and guidelines within one section of the NYPD Patrol Guide. The policy defines three levels of reportable force—from physical takedowns through use of deadly force – and establishes reporting and investigation requirements and protocols for each level. Also in June 2016, the department began collecting more detailed aggregate data regarding the use of force. Among the information now collected are: the type of force used, the circumstances surrounding the use of force, injuries caused by uses of force, and identifying information for subjects against whom force was used, as well as the identifying information for officers against whom force was used.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)