#266 Baltimore Police Accountability Portal
Police violence is an enormous issue in Baltimore, and systemic racism and transmisogyny are two of the most dangerous and deeply rooted forms of bias that permeate our police force. But, like most police departments in the US, an insular culture and a lack of transparency can make it difficult to understand the true scope of the problem.
Across Baltimore City
Jan 22, 2021
Sep 26, 2019
Why it matters
Rampant corruption and brutality are well-known issues in the Baltimore police force, and these problems can cost Baltimore residents like Korryn Gaines and Freddy Gray their lives. This problem disproportionately impacts black Maryland residents, who (according to a 2015 study) made up 2/3 of people who died in police encounters. And although black men are disproportionately victimized by the police, police brutality is aimed at residents of all ages: from 2011-2014, victims included a 65-year-old church deacon, an 87-year-old grandmother, a 15-year-old boy, and a 26-year-old pregnant woman. We have to do better. Sources: https://www.baltimorebrew.com/2015/03/18/study-of-police-involved-deaths-in-maryland-finds-mostly-black-victims/ https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-brutality-of-police-culture-in-baltimore/391158/
What does "good" look like?
We have a better understanding of what kinds of police brutality and violence are occurring, where incidents of police violence are happening, and to whom. This will allow us to not only understand the scope of this problem better, but to begin getting at the root causes of this violence and coming up with community-based solutions.
How could technology solve this?
Indianapolis' Project Comport (built by Code for America) and Chicago's Citizens Police Data Project are two excellent examples of how we could make police data more transparent. The projects visualize things like civilian complaints against officers, use of force, and officer involved shootings across their respective cities. The CPDP portal also has an intuitive feature that displays information on what they call "Repeaters" -- officers who have multiple complaints lodged against them. This is particularly crucial, as, according to the portal, "More than 30% of the complaints against CPD officers involve just 10% of the police force" and "Officers with at least 10 complaints against them generate 64% of all complaints." Developing a similar portal for Baltimore would empower residents to combat the culture of silence and protection that pervades the police force, enabling citizens to fully understand the scope of police violence and begin lobbying for change. Sources: https://technical.ly/2016/01/06/7-social-justice-projects-tapping-the-power-of-police-data/ https://cpdp.co/