Analysis of the use of force policies at America's 17 largest city police departments reveals widely varying standards, a chronic transparency deficit, and a frequent lack of accountability measures.
The report, released Wednesday by Campaign Zero's Police Use of Force Project, evaluated the departments on four primary policy fronts: prioritizing preservation of life, requiring officers to de-escalate encounters, prohibiting officers from choking or strangling people, and requiring officers to intervene when their colleagues use excessive force.
Of the cities reviewed, only Philadelphia has positive policies in place on all four issues, while Houston, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis fail on all four counts.
Examining specific department rules, the project found that only four cities — L.A., Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — prohibit police from strangling or choking people. Just four more — Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco — ban hog-tying as a means of restraint. And in Chicago, Houston, L.A., and San Antonio, cops are not required to offer even a verbal warning before opening fire on civilians.
Transparency and accountability are lacking in many cities, too, as some departments do not make their use of force policies available to the public and others redact them heavily before publishing. Only three of the 17 departments require officers to file a report about every use of force incident.