On Monday a new report was released by the US Department of Justice which condemned the Philadelphia Police Department for “poor training”, and for the shooting of approximately 400 civilians over the last 7 years. The report came at the request of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
The Justice department found a lack of “guidelines, objectives, or lesson plans that detail PPD officer training on the department’s use of force policies.” The DOJ is calling on the PPD to create a specific unit that looks into every case where an officer uses deadly force. They also requested that an independent outside agency investigate shootings of unarmed individuals and hold a press conference within three days to reveal details.
The report found a lack of accountability when it comes to officer-involved shootings, or OIS. “All PPD should be required to report any misconduct, including but not limited to excessive use of force.” The report also concluded that “all across OIS investigations, we found a general lack of consistency in quality.”
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter said the city must heed the warnings of the DOJ. “We will examine fully this report and work on a realistic approach for implementation of the recommendations as quickly as possible,” he stated.
Despite a lack of “official” statistics on the number of police officer shootings of civilians, independent estimates have found that over 1,000 individuals were killed by police in 2014. The Washington Post drew the following comparison:
“In New York, for example, there were 30 police shootings in 2012 (16 of the people shot were killed, while the rest were injured) and 25 such shootings in 2013 (eight of those people were killed), according to the police. The Dallas Police Department, responsible for a city closer in size to Philadelphia, said it had 23 shootings in 2012 and 22 in 2013. Meanwhile, police in Philadelphia had 58 shootings in 2012 and 44 shootings in 2013.”
The DOJ report comes after another study done last month by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP. The two groups found that the PPD illegally stops and frisks tens of thousands of individuals.