MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis Police use force on criminals more often than you might think. Every time an officer uses force, a form must be filled out. Records show during a three month period in the summer of 2011, force was used 240 times.
“I know most officers use the amount of force necessary to subdue a subject,” said Mike Williams, Memphis Police Association Vice President. “Sometimes your adrenaline is pumping and you just really have to be careful.”
On the forms, officers write down the type of force used. Physical force is most often used, followed by officers using a chemical spray. Of the 240 people who had force used against them during the three month period, 77 times the suspect needed medical attention. Suspects often report police went too far, officers told abc24.com they are under attack.
“We are seeing a pattern where officers are under attack. People are not complying with officer’s commands,” said Memphis Police Director, Toney Armstrong.
When it comes to excessive force complaints in 2011, internal affairs has completed 29 investigations. Nine times, internal affairs ruled the complaint was substantiated.
“I won’t deny it has happened in the past, but when these incidents come up we investigate them,” Armstrong told abc24.com.
As for the number of times officers have had to use force?
"You are looking at one side of it. There is no way to record all the incidents where restraint was used,” Armstrong told abc24.com.