One Florida county sheriff’s department has been targeting and harassing teenagers with a predictive policing program since 2011, an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times found. Generating lists of people considered likely to commit crimes based on petty arrest records and arbitrary internal decisions, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco started a program that would send deputies, often without probable cause, to target and harass anyone whose name appeared on the list, “making arrests for any reason they can.” While the Times found there was no disproportionate targeting by race, the program did result in the targeted harassment of 14-year-old Da'Marion Allen, a Black teenager with developmental disabilities. As a result, Allen’s grandmother says she and two other family members were arrested when deputies visited their home inquiring about a possible car theft. Other targets are monitored after repeat visits to psychiatric hospitals.
“It feels like everything that’s wrong about policing in one document,” American University policing expert Andrew Guthrie Ferguson said after reviewing Nocco’s program manual. Predictive policing was popular a decade ago but Ferguson said the practice has been largely discredited.