JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people marched in downtown Jacksonville for the third straight week of protests demanding police transparency and the release of police body camera footage showing officer-involved shootings.
The names of young black men like 17-year-old Kwamae Jones are the subject of posters being held by the crowds of people. Jones, whose death is not recorded on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office page because he is a juvenile, was shot and killed by an officer after the car he was riding in was pulled over going the wrong way.
Following the shooting death of the teen, JSO tweeted a picture of a gun they recovered from the vehicle but have yet to release police body camera footage of the shooting, citing an ongoing investigation.
Data from the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office shows that nine people were shot -- six of them fatally -- in 2019. The I-TEAM found in the JSO’s Response to Resistance Annual Report that officers used force hundreds of times last year and the vast majority do not involve the use of a gun or result in a death.
According to the data, officers with the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office used force 878 times in 2019. The report found 386 people were injured in 2019, with anything from cuts and bruises to broken teeth and bones. The report shows 71 officers were injured during those interactions. News4Jax originally reported 420 people were injured. Upon closer inspection of the report, there were 420 injuries, but 386 people injured.
For context, of 837,885 police/citizen interactions in 2019, 4.4% resulted in arrests. Force was used in 0.66% of all police/citizen interactions and in 1.5% of arrests.
So far the department has not released any footage of the deadly shootings citing a law that prohibits the agency from releasing footage before the case has been administratively reviewed. Since the public outcry, the State Attorneys Office is reviewing its policy and promised to release video in the shooting death of a 22-year-old FAMU student Jamee Johnson as soon as she concludes her review of the officer-involved shooting.
In 57% of the cases, force was used on black males.
In 20% of 536 incidents, the suspect was armed with anything from their fists and feet to a firearm.
Most use-of-force incidents involved an officer using physical force, 515 times, and in 23 cases in 2019, an officer used a firearm.
Most officers, nearly 90%, said they used force to overcome someone resisting them. Close to half, 48%, said they used force to protect themselves, while a little more than 17% said they used force to protect a citizen.
Data in the report also shows in 73 incidents where force was used, the officer was not on duty.
In a statement, the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office said the data is used to evaluate and improve its services.
“In evaluating the data, we identify any training issues, necessary policy updates as well as discipline issues, and act accordingly. This is not a once a year process, but rather an on-going commitment to self-evaluation and improvement,” the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office spokesman said in a statement.
Sheriff Mike Williams hasn’t specifically addressed his agency’s most recent use-of-force data, but has called efforts to defund law enforcement that are heard in protests around the country “one of the worst policy ideas I’ve ever heard.”