FAIRFAX, Va. - The Fairfax County NAACP has released its first-ever criminal justice report card and while the county received high scores for its outreach in minority communities, law enforcement's use of force was an area the report found needs improvement.
One of the goals of this report card was to hold the people in the county accountable – from the Board of Supervisors to the sheriff to the police chief.
There were no charges against the deputies who Tasered McKenna. The Fairfax County NAACP said this case just one example highlighting why civilian oversight is needed.
“The two areas that needed the most improvement was the use of force and diversity,” said Fairfax County NAACP President Kofi Annan.
The report card said the county is not immune from factors that led to the riots in Baltimore or in Ferguson, Missouri. Fairfax County's police chief and sheriff received a grade of “C” in use of force while three board supervisors received a “D” for positions on the matter.
“Forty-seven percent of the use of force is applied towards African Americans and African Americans only make up about eight percent of the county,” said Annan.
“Unfortunately what those cases represent, every single one of them for that year, is that the person that was under arrest resisted arrest, and the officer had to use a level of force to overcome the resistance to affect the arrest,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler. “So basically what happens first is a police officer gets assaulted and then has to use force.”
Law enforcement received an “A” in minority community outreach and incarceration alternatives.
Chief Roessler suspects next year's report card will show more successes.
“Our data will show that we are now using de-escalation training, crisis intervention team training for all officers to effectively slow the event down and try not to get into situations where we have to use force,” he said. “We want to preserve the sanctity of all human life and preserve it.”