A new study about police killings has confirmed what we already knew. Image courtesy of Blavity. Image source: Twitter.
The study was conducted by the American Journal of Public Health and according to its findings, eight percent of homicides in the United States are committed by the police.
According to one of its authors, the outlook is grimmer in certain areas.
Eight percent of all men killed in the U.S. are killed by cops,” Frank Edwards, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University told Mic. “That’s huge, and that number is even higher in some places than others. That’s really striking, to think of police as a major source of homicide deaths. It’s a public health problem.”
The study also claims black men are more likely to be killed than their non-black counterparts. Black men were three times more likely to be killed than white men and their mortality rate is 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per every 100,000 people. The mortality rate for Latinos is 0.8 and 1.2 deaths and 0.6 or 0.7 for white men. Between 2012 and 2018, 1,145 Black men were killed by the police compared to 2,993 white men. The different is alarming considering Black people only make up 13 percent of the population while white people account for 76 percent, according to the U.S. Census.
Location is a factor in some of these numbers. Black men are 4.3 times more likely to be killed if they live in a metropolitan area. The risk ratio for black men to white men in Mid-Atlantic areas like Essex, Queens and The Bronx is 8.2.
“The disparities and risk of killing were so uniform nationally,” Edwards said. “Even in rural places — even in places with relatively small black populations — we still see elevated risk of being killed by police among black people.”
Sadly, Black women are not immune to being murdered by the police.
“We are working on another analysis right now that shows black women are also at a high risk of being killed [by police] — at about double the risk of white women,” Edwards said.
Edwards says his team did not classify the killings based on whether they were justified and want to look at police shootings on a broader scale.
“Rather than trying to reduce this to a narrative in which killings are considered justified or not justified, we’re interested in thinking about police killings more generally,” Edwards said.
“It was clear to me that we didn’t have an understanding of basic police killing facts — how prevalent they are, and some of the geographic regions they happen a lot in. We hadn’t really established good baselines for what the rates of killing were.”
In an interview with Newsweek, Edwards said the figures are probably “conservative estimates” since police departments are not required to submit data.
“If I’m a police department, I have no incentive to report those numbers,” he said. “Actually, it’s against my best interest to do so. It could actively harm my work and department to report those numbers.”
He also believes these killings and the spotlight on them contributes to crime rates.
“Indirectly, police violence may be contributing to more general community violence,” he said. “When the community doesn’t trust police, they become more dangerous.”