MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The names have become tragically iconic: Jamar Clark, Thurman Blevins, and now, George Floyd.
But behind the human tragedies, there is also data that paints a picture of how the City of Minneapolis has two different versions of "to protect and serve."
While about 20 percent of the city’s population is black, when Minneapolis Police use force a black person is on the receiving end 60 percent of the time, according to a public dashboard the city maintains on use of force patterns.
The data shows Minneapolis Police have used force 11,500 times in the last five years. In 6,650 cases, the suspect was black. In 2,750 cases, the suspect was white.
In many cases, multiple force techniques were used against a single individual during an arrest, possibly inflating the numbers. But the overall pattern of racial disparities appears consistent.
Given the demographics of the city, and disparate use of force, looking at the same numbers the New York Times concludes Minneapolis Police officers use force against black people at seven times the rate of whites.
And while it is true that most violent crime in the city happens in neighborhoods with a greater population of people of color, it also indicates they are arrested disproportionately in predominantly white neighborhoods as well.
The city’s dashboard tracks several kinds of use of force techniques, and black people are the subject of that force most often.
When Minneapolis Police have held suspects at gunpoint in the last five years, 68 percent of the time those suspects were black. When chemical irritants were used, 66 percent of the time they were used on black people.
And when police K-9s were used, an issue of particular sensitivity in the African American community, 61 percent of the time the suspect was black.
The dashboard also tracks the use of restraints. When neck restraints are used, 66 percent of the time the suspect is black, body weights pins it 60 percent, and other restraint techniques, 59 percent.
But there is also reason for caution looking at these numbers in the context of the killing of George Floyd.
Law enforcement sources and use of force experts tell the FOX 9 investigators, the particular restraint hold used by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, with his knee digging into George Floyd’s neck, appears to be a dangerously improvised hybrid move, not officially sanctioned or taught by police departments.
Use of force experts say it more closely resembles a body weight pin than a neck restraint. But with George Floyd prone on his stomach, and pressure on his neck, it put him at risk for what is known as ‘positional asphyxia.’
And while the use of force against suspects has generally been trending downwards for the last five years, black people are still disproportionately on the receiving end of that force.