Share story

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas newspaper found that black residents are more likely to be at the receiving end of force by Wichita police than any other race.

The Wichita Eagle analyzed newly released data that studies the Wichita Police Department’s use of force.

The data revealed a Taser is used about once a week and 12 percent of those residents are black. In the instances where pepper spray was used, 57 percent were black and 12 percent were Hispanic.

The data figures show that of the nearly 11,300 instances where a resident was shoved by a Wichita officer, 33 percent were black and 11 percent were Hispanic.

City Council member Brandon Johnson wasn’t surprised by the statistics, saying racial inequality in the law goes beyond street patrol and extends through the justice system.

“Black people are about four and a half times more likely to stay in custody longer than their white counterparts,” Johnson said. “The sentences were longer than their white counterparts. The opportunities for diversion were less than their white counterparts.”

Johnson also said that opportunities for probation instead of serving time in prison “were less than their white counterparts.”

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said there’s also racial inequality when it comes to health care, education and the workforce.

“All those numbers are off the chart,” Ramsay said. “What happens in law enforcement and what you see across the country is that we’re often the flashpoint for all these issues at once, for all these disparities that are not getting the attention they should.”

Ramsay and Johnson both agreed that changing the way the system treats minority residents should begin with law enforcement.

“I’ve taken the stance that police should be leaders in not only trying to reduce and resolve the disparities in our system but in all systems,” Ramsay said.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle,