Database showing extent of deadly, excessive force by police set to launch in January
A new database that would give the public access to how often police use deadly or excessive force may show some surprising results to Hudson Valley residents.
Legal experts in the area say the FBI database would document whenever someone is injured or killed by police. It would also show when an officer fires a gun at someone.
The problem of deadly excessive force stretches across the country and isn't uncommon in the Hudson Valley.
Video from last year showed White Plains police pushing a 72-year-old man and handcuffing him so tight that he started bleeding.
Last summer, police in Orange County fatally shot a Warwick man who wouldn't drop his knife.
According to White Plains-based attorney Michael Joseph, who has handled more than 100 excessive force cases, local police aren't trained properly in de-escalation techniques like they are in bigger cities.
He says the database is a good step forward but worries that since it won't mandate officers to report excessive or deadly force, departments would only do so when they're confident an officer acted properly.
"Since it's not mandatory, it's likely that anything bad won't be reported and they're going to cherry-pick the information by providing only the information that shows the police acted properly," Joseph says.
Police agencies say they hope the new database will eliminate the idea that fatal force is rampant in some departments.
Joseph, however, believes the opposite. He thinks deadly force is underreported, and that a mandatory database would shock the country.
Nearly 900 people have been fatally shot by police this year to date, according to independent publications that log fatal force.
News 12 reached out to White Plains police and several other local departments but none were available for comment.
The database is set to launch in January.