WASHINGTON — City leaders acknowledged Thursday that the Metropolitan Police Department underreported the number of stop and frisks in the district for years.
"We had incomplete information," Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue, said. "Undercounted because by the design of the system we were not counting each individual instance of someone getting stopped and searched."
The admission comes after the release of new data by the D.C. Police Department which shows officers conducted 1,470 protective pat downs, or frisks, from July 22 to August 18 this year. The subjects of 93 percent of those frisks were black.
Overall, the Metropolitan Police Department’s Stop Data Report revealed officers made a total of 11,600 police stops over that four-week period. Not all of those stops resulted in frisks.
"It’s a lot of stops," D.C. Councilman Charles Allen, said.
Watch Eric Flack's uncut interview with Councilman Allen below:
Allen is Chair of the Committee of the Judiciary and Public Safety. In February, Police Chief Peter Newsham testified in front of Allen’s committee, offering insight into his department’s stop and frisk practices.
That day, Newsham offered what now appears to be inaccurate information about the number of stop and frisks his officers perform.
"There was a one-year study on the number of stop and frisk reports that were done by the Metropolitan Police Department," Newsham testified. "And my recollection at the time of reviewing that report and this is over a one year period is that there were about 1,000 stop and frisk reports that were done.”
Allen said Newsham’s comments are concerning.
"Because it either represents that stops have somehow dramatically increased from that hearing or that we weren’t being shared 100 percent accurate information," Allen said.
The expanded police stop data, as required under the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results or NEAR Act, is revealing even more troubling trends.
A WUSA9 analysis done of the raw numbers revealed: only about 20 percent of the 11,638 stops conducted over the target period resulted in an arrest. Of those, in the 1,470 where a frisk was conducted, about 43 percent resulted in an arrest. And while MPD lists removing guns as a main selling point for stop and frisks, less than nine percent of frisks resulted in a weapons-related charge (and of those, almost 10 percent were for BB guns).
Additionally, black people were frisked seven times more often than white individuals who were also stopped by police.
Donahue says the city will use officers body cam footage to try and unravel the reasons why.
"So we have the chance to look at the interactions to understand was training followed, was protocol followed, was the body of laws that govern policing followed," Donahue said.
Councilmember Allen said he doesn’t want the police department to sit on the data. But Deputy Mayor Donahue said it’s going to take a few months to dig into the reasons behind the numbers.
Donahue said he plans to put out bids later this fall for an outside expert to come in study all the police stops. When the city will get any analysis back is unclear.
Watch Eric Flack's uncut interview with Deputy Mayor Donahue below:
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