Minneapolis police use-of-force data shows officers draw handguns more often than less-lethal weapons

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Ever since George Floyd was murdered while in police custody, there has been a renewed push to examine how and when Minneapolis police use force.

The Minneapolis Police Department presented an updated data report to the City Council last Friday breaking down use-of-force statistics for everything from the use of handcuffs to firearms in over 32,000 police reports filed through September of 2021.

MPD said there were no comparable year-to-date statistics because the way use-of-force data is compiled now is much more detailed than in years past.

Of those 32,275 police reports, MPD said force was used in 4,336 of them, or 15% of the time.

The MPD report noted handcuffs were used more than 4,000 times, or about 13%. Escort holds were used 1,401 times, or about 4% of the time. Bodily force — such as body weight pins or takedowns — was employed 1,298 times, or about 4%. The use of firearms — anything from unholstering a weapon to pointing a gun — appeared 1,160 times, and Tasers were used 347 times, or in 1% of police reports.

“Firearms are drawn more than Tasers. Does that feel situationally appropriate, or does that sort of raise a flag that says we should be training people to use less-lethal methods?” City Council Member Steve Fletcher asked during the presentation.

MPD Cmdr. Jason Case said the numbers, in his opinion, show officers are only drawing their weapons when they training calls for them to do so during so-called “unpredictable calls.”

“And those that are most unpredictable tend to be suspicious vehicles, traffic stops, domestics and, in most recent history the [emotionally disturbed person]-type calls, and that’s where we are seeing those types of force being used,” said Case.

Case and an MPD analyst told the City Council they are still compiling more demographic information on race and gender for these use-of-force reports and those will be included in the coming months.