A report showing that Black people are disproportionately involved in use-of-force incidents is prompting familiar calls for reform.
Fairfax NAACP president Sean Perryman is calling on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to address the disparity, which has been on the books for six years.
The latest report, released yesterday (Tuesday), shows that Black residents are involved in nearly 46 percent of use-of-force incidents, even though they make up less than 10 percent of the county’s population. The disparity is less prominent in the Reston District Station.
Perryman is also calling on FCPD to release more data on use of force, including why a stop may turn into a use of force case.
“I don’t understand why the county doesn’t have a sense of urgency about providing that data to us,” Perryman said. “My suspicion is that that data will be much worse than the use of force data.”
He added that he is unsurprised by the data he has seen thus far — which is largely consistent with racial disparities throughout the country.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn pitched a three-pronged approach to address the issue.
Alcorn told Reston Now that the body-worn camera should be quickly implemented throughout the county. Currently, three district stations, including Reston, use the devices.
“The role of body-worn cameras in reviewing use of force incidents – as partially implemented in Fairfax County – has already proved useful in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County earlier this month,” he said.
Alcorn also said that the county needs to “double down” on community policing.
“This is especially important when most of our police officers do not live in the county and do not have many opportunities outside of duty to get to know county residents,” he said.
On a broader level, Alcorn also says that the county needs to shift to another first responder model that does not rely on armed officers or use of force.
“Many of the community needs for which police are currently called do not involve violation of laws. Examples include crisis counseling, suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and a wide range of mental health and behavioral issues. Creating an unarmed first response unit for these and similar community needs would mark a major step beyond the old model,” he said.
Ashley Hopkins contributed reporting to this story