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Justice Dept. Faults Philly Police For Poor Training On Deadly Force Policy

Philadelphia police officers "do not receive regular, consistent training on the department's deadly force policy," the Justice Department said today in a review of the city's 394 officer-involved shootings between 2007 and 2014.

The department also said: "PPD recruit training is not conducted in a systematic and modular fashion. As a result, some recruit classes receive firearms training close to the end of the academy, whereas others receive it early on."

Those were two of more than 40 findings from the Justice Department review, which was conducted when the city's police commissioner asked the Justice Department to look into Philadelphia officer-involved shootings after four consecutive days of such shootings in May 2013.

Bobby Allyn, a reporter for member station WHYY, adds:

"Between 2007 and 2014, there were 394 office-involved shootings in Philadelphia, most of them occurring in the 22nd and 25th police districts. In those cases, according to the report, about 60 percent of the officers firing a weapon were white and 80 percent of the suspects shot at were black.

"The report found that black suspects were unarmed about 15 percent of the time, while white suspected were unarmed about 25 percent of the time, and Asian suspects were unarmed in 20 percent of incidents.

"Most unarmed officer-involved shootings were attributable to the perception of an imminent threat or started with a physical altercation."

The Associated Press reports:

"Officers in the nation's fifth-largest city fatally shot 96 suspects between 2007 and 2014, including 11 in 2013. That number fell sharply last year.

"Officers shot at 29 suspects and killed four of them — the fewest officer-involved deaths in the eight years for which statistics are available. Philadelphia officers killed 15 suspects in 2007 and 2009 and 16 in 2012. They also injured 32 people in 2012."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.