North Carolina: After police beating, organizations want more data in hands of public

A local advocacy group is calling on the city to improve transparency in the police department following the publication of body camera footage in February that shows a white former Asheville police officer beating a black city resident.

“For our city to move forward from this tragic incident, we need to talk about solutions,” Patrick Conant, a member of Code for Asheville, told the city’s Public Safety Committee on March 26. “And I feel strongly that our city has a much stronger chance for success if they involve citizens in that process.” The committee is made up of three members of City Council: Brian HaynesGwen Wisler and Sheneika Smith.

Code for Asheville has asked the city to post emergency call data, citation and arrest data, citizen complaints, traffic stop report data and historical crime reports from before 2013 on the city’s online open data portal. The organization has also requested that the city release the demographics of officers in the police department, as well as more information regarding use-of-force incidents — including the location of the incident, the type of force applied, the type of resistance and injuries to the subject or officer. The organization’s proposal can be viewed in detail here.

“This is all data that already exists,” Conant said. “We’re not asking the city to spend a lot of money to create it. Just to release it to the public.” Read more…