DC police chief admits proper stop-and-frisk protocol not followed

During a council budget meeting in Washington D.C., on Thursday, Police Chief Peter Newsham admitted that his department had not been properly following lawful protocol when it comes to recording data related to stop and frisk.

According to WUSA 9the law in question was passed two years ago, but the chief failed to put a system in order to comply with the regulation.

“So to the extent there has been a delay to this data piece and not a complete understanding of the necessary infrastructure changes that would be required, um, we’re guilty,” Newsham said.

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Newsham was speaking directly to Judiciary and Public Safety Chairman Charles Allen, who reportedly scolded the police chief for his lack of compliance, which mostly came as a result of a lack of desire to do so.

Allen said, “The thing that we have to say is unacceptable is that we are just not going to do those things because we don’t want to do it.”

“I agree with that sir,” Newsham replied. “I one-hundred percent agree that it’s not acceptable.”

The chief accounted his failure to comply with the law to his miscalculation of what was needed to carry-out the implementation on a large-scale. At the turn of the rule, they only asked the D.C. Council for $150,000 to make the necessary changes.

“Why were we wrong when we said $150,000, and then the second part of that is, when did we determine that was not going to be sufficient,” Allen asked Newsham.

Newsham replied that they were also “probably a little bit guilty on the second question,” when it came to prioritizing the mistake and correcting it.

Prior to the testimony, special reporting by local WUSA 9 revealed that 8 out of 10 stop-and-frisks in the district are being performed on African-Americans. You can imagine that it’s not only a staggering statistic but largely disproportionate in relation to the population.

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Those reports to exposed D.C. police who improperly collecting data related to the issue that has largely targeted Black and Brown people in America.

The Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results or NEAR Act of 2016, requires police to collect the date, age, race, and location of a stop— which the department has done.

However, D.C. police have failed to collect other data that became important following the ruling, such as “the violation that led to the stop, if a search was conducted, the reason for the search, and whether an arrest was made because of the stop or search.”

Reportedly, the department is still  unaware of what they need to do to complete the upgrade to the system. Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue, who oversees the department is unclear, as well.

“I know it’s going to cost more than what was set aside in the budget,” Donahue said.

That’s already been established, and with two years past the implementation date of the bill, it’s looking as though the larger issue of non-compliance and insufficiency may be at play.

Chief Newsham told Councilmember Allen at the budget meeting that once the systems are updated and properly implemented — whenever that will be — there will still be an additional year before the data can be comprised into a comprehensive study.

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