A Wauwatosa police squad at the scene of the department’s December 10th, 2020 shooting. (Photo by Isiah Holmes)
In 2021, incidents of police violence in Wisconsin occurred most often on public roads or private homes, the victim was most often a male between 18-35 years old and the officer had usually been on the force for less than five years.
Those numbers come from a new data tool from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The Use-of-Force and Arrest-Related Death (UFAD) data dashboard compiles reports from nearly all of the state’s law enforcement agencies to show how often and why police use force when dealing with members of the public. The collection and publishing of the data is required by a bipartisan bill that Gov. Tony Evers signed in December.
The bill was part of a broader package of reforms introduced after nationwide protests against police violence in 2020.
The data includes information from 96% of the state’s law enforcement agencies representing 99% of the state’s population and shows a picture at the larger trends behind the 50 instances of police use-of-force last year.
“The release of this data marks the first time that our state government has made comprehensive, statewide use-of-force data available to the public. This information will allow for a more comprehensive, evidence-based understanding of use-of-force incidents in Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said. “Thank you to the law enforcement agencies across the state whose commitment to transparency has ensured that use-of-force data for agencies serving 99% of Wisconsinites will be publicly available.”
The data includes any incident in which an officer’s use of force killed someone or caused great bodily harm and any time an officer fired a weapon at someone or a person was killed while being arrested.
Last year, there were 17 people injured as a result of police use of force, 13 people killed by an officer using force and 11 people killed while being arrested. In addition, there were nine other incidents in which officers fired weapons at people.
More than half of the incidents occurred between June and October. In 25 of the incidents officers were responding to someone breaking the law and five were during traffic stops.
Most of the victims, 32, were white and 13 were Black, while 57 of the officers involved in these incidents were white.
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