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Reporting Use of Force Summary Data

Use of Force Policy

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recognizes that the use of force by police is a critically important issue to the community. MPD’s model use of force policy emphasizes that our officers must de-escalate situations whenever possible and promotes the sanctity of human life. Our officers are required to minimize the force that is used whenever possible while protecting the public and themselves. When using force, our officers continuously reassess the circumstances in order to ensure that force is only used when necessary and that it is reasonable and proportional to the threat faced by members of the public or themselves.

Use of Force Investigations

In June of 2021, MPD reinstituted the Force Investigation Team (FIT), a group of investigators assigned to MPD’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD) who are specially trained to investigate serious uses of force.

Serious Uses of Force Investigated by FIT

  • Firearms discharges (except negligent discharges determined to be misconduct by IAD);

  • Head strikes with a hard object;

  • Those resulting in death or serious bodily injury;

  • Use of asphyxiating restraints or neck restraints; and

  • MPD canine bites (except bites determined to be misconduct by IAD).

FIT refers all serious use of force cases to the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the District of Columbia for an independent review to determine if the officer engaged in potentially criminal conduct. For cases that the USAO declines to criminally prosecute, FIT completes their investigation, and the case is referred to the MPD Use of Force Review Board. The Board reviews the actions of all officers involved in the use of force and determines:

  • Whether the use of force was justified
  • Whether the use of force was consistent with MPD policy
  • Whether any of the involved officers need re-training or would benefit from reviewing the incident for tactical improvement opportunities
  • Whether any other recommendations are appropriate regarding MPD policy, training, equipment, or other areas.

Officers who are found to have used unjustified force or who violate MPD policy are referred for appropriate discipline.

Use of Force Data

MPD understands that transparency around the use of force is critically important to maintain the public trust. To continue to promote these efforts, MPD will release use of force data on an annual basis beginning with calendar year 2020. The dataset includes serious use of force investigated by IAD as well as other use of force incidents.