Austin, Tx., police filed 1,152 reports saying they had used force in 2008, nearly 400 more than in the previous year, an increase that officials attribute to a policy change that requires officers to document more encounters, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The spike was spread across racial groups, although the use of force on African American saw the highest increase at 54.2 percent from 2007 to 2008.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said the number of force encounters represented only a small fraction of the 636,478 interactions officers had with residents last year, including traffic and pedestrian stops. The increases happened in a year in which officers had 52,862 more contacts with the public. Nelson Linder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said he has heard less in recent years about officers using force on minority suspects. “I think with Acevedo’s administration, he has a much more community-based team, and I think people respect that,” he said.