Patrick Madden of WAMU-FM reports today (19) on District of Columbia police conduct using data from almost 500 sworn statements accompanying 1,713 gun charges filed in court 2010-15. He shows 40 percent were dismissed--tossed by the judge or withdrawn by the prosecutor after further review. (The data don't include arrests where prosecutors decline at the outset to proceed with charges, called "no papering." All the cases studied had been filed in court, generating a criminal record for the accused. So the full extent of flawed street stops and arrests is unknown.)
Stop-and-frisk tactics elsewhere have been subject of intense research and legal challenge.
In D.C., the public has been concerned with over-aggressive street tactics that police say are needed to find and get rid of guns in the city. Video of one such incident drew much attention in recent weeks.
For transparency advocates, Madden’s reporting also showcases the utility of public records—made into valuable reporting in this case through the work of student researchers in the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the School of Communications at American University.