Campaign Zero Evaluated The Police In 100 California Cities So You Can Hold Them Accountable

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Written by Ann Brown
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Photo by Spenser on Unsplash

California has a new tool to help with police accountability. Late last month, police accountability advocacy group Campaign Zero made public its scorecard grading California’s 100 largest police departments. And the results were surprising.

The group used data from 2016 and 2017 to score the departments on a range of factors to assess their accountability, discrimination, and use violence.

According to the report, “Campaign Zero obtained data from state and local agencies to evaluate California’s 100 largest municipal police departments and converted each evaluation (represented by a “score” from 0-100) into an easy-to-understand letter grade. Using this methodology, a police department received a higher grade if it made fewer arrests for low level offenses, used less force during arrest, had fewer homicides unsolved, did not have racial disparities in arrests and use of force, and upheld civilian complaints of police misconduct more often than other police departments in the state.”

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California was chosen because it collects and publishes more data on police agencies than most others.

The Police Scorecard site found that in California “Overall, half of people killed or seriously injured by police (49%) were unarmed.”

Here’s what the scorecard revealed: “Carlsbad, a sleepy seaside municipality in North San Diego County, enjoyed the best-performing police department among those graded, while ultra-wealthy Beverly Hills performed the worst, according to analysis of data from 2016 and 2017,” The Atlantic reported.  

Los Angeles was graded with an F because between 2016 and 2017, the force had reportedly 131 deadly force incidents. And only one in every 24 complaints resulted in rulings that favored civilians while police made 5.4x as many arrests for low-level offenses as for violent crimes.

Race played a major factor in arrests and police shootings. “The police killed more people last year than the year before, racial disparities in outcomes such as arrests and deadly force persist, and the criminal justice system is not more likely to hold police accountable,” states the Campaign Zero study. “These findings should prompt further investigations and interventions targeting low-performing police departments within the state, not only from local policymakers but also potentially from the California Attorney General, who has the power to initiate pattern and practice investigations into local police agencies.”