Who was subjected to physical force by Burlington police in 2019? What the race data shows

A Burlington Free Press investigation found that racial disparities appear to persist in the way Burlington police officers use physical force on community members. 

A Free Press analysis of data provided by the department shows that 27% of subjects of police force in 2019 were Black. This is both a higher rate than appears in the racial breakdown for 2019 arrests by Burlington police and for the overall demographic of the city. 

The "Protest for George Floyd!" filled Battery Park, and then during a march spilled onto North Avenue and the parking lot at the Burlington Police Department.

Over the past few years, racial justice advocates and some elected officials have increased their scrutiny of the way officers interact with the community, including through their use of physical force. The increased focus has followed a number of high-profile incidents throughout the nation in which law enforcement killed Black citizens. 

In Burlington, community members have called for more accountability for officers who use what appears to be excessive force or use physical force in a racially biased way.

Subscribers can read the whole story here to find out what the Burlington Free Press discovered from the agency’s race data for 2019. 

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.