Police Are Not ‘More Likely To Injure Blacks And Hispanics Than Whites’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Police are not more likely to injure blacks or Hispanics than whites during stops, according to a new study released by the journal of Injury Prevention.

While blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be stopped by the police, the research finds no evidence that minorities were more likely to be injured.

This study, published Monday, is at the forefront of research that examines not just lethal use of force by law enforcement, but also injuries “inflicted by the police that do not result in death.” The study examines hospital records from 2011 and 2012.

Injuries inflicted by police account for just 3.3 percent of the total number of injuries inflicted via person-on-person attacks. Just 6.6 percent of all deaths by homicides in the U.S. are at the hands of police officers, according to the data.

Take, for example, the 2012 data on deaths or injuries from civilian interactions with police. Out of some 55,400 separate occasions, only “1.7 encounters per 10,000 resulted in a hospitalization, and an additional 0.7 incidents ended in death,” reports the Washington Post.

The study acknowledges that blacks have nearly three times the rate of stops or arrests compared to whites, and Latinos have double the rate of whites. The authors find that any discrepancy in per capita death rates or “excess appears to reflect exposure” to the police, and thus it follows that the greater the instances of interactions–arrests or stops–with police, the greater the chance of a negative outcome.

It concluded that while “per capita death rate of blacks from US police action rightly concerns policy analysts,” blacks are “not more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be killed or injured during a stop/arrest.”

The study explained that while the country struggles to reduce police violence, it would be “prudent to train at-risk groups about appropriate behaviour during police stops.”

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