According to an extensive review of information related to 731 police departments and 254 Sheriff’s departments in Texas, the state has a real issue with police brutality and corruption. The Police Scorecard compared Texas’ policing statistics to the rest of the country, and the results weren’t great.
Texas received a 50% score, which means that half of the country has safer policing practices than those currently employed in Texas. Texas spends more on policing, uses more force and is less likely to hold officers accountable than roughly half of the country. Police officers also make arrests for more low-level offenses than officers in half of the country do.
Certain people are at an increased risk of police violence
The data about policing priorities and violence are especially concerning. Black people are much more likely than other groups to face arrest for minor offenses and are 2.3 times as likely as white people to get killed by an officer.
Between 2013 and 2021, 874 people died in Texas because of something a police officer did. In 12% of cases, the facts show that the individual killed was completely unarmed. Yet, these deaths are only the start of the negative impacts of policing practices currently being felt throughout Texas. An additional 14,659 people made complaints about police misconduct between 2016 and 2021 alone.
Texas spends quite a bit on police efforts, much of which comes from asset forfeiture and fines, and unfortunately, those sources of funding may be one of the reasons why Texas arrests so many low-level criminals.
What this means for Texas residents
Given the serious and documented issues that Texas has regarding the conduct of law enforcement, especially when compared with much of the rest of the country, it becomes clear that change is necessary.
Unfortunately, thousands more people will likely experience some degree of police brutality before any comprehensive reform occurs. Those affected by police violence either directly or through the loss of a loved one may need to pursue a claim against the department involved in the meantime. Learning more about Texas police brutality cases can help those who have been victims of police misconduct.