Cops using deadly force have created a public health crisis in which black men are more than twice as likely to be killed by law enforcement over their lifetime than white men, according to a new study released Tuesday.
Researchers at Rutgers University said fatal force by police has become so prevalent that it is now a leading cause of death in young men across the country.
The study, by the university’s School of Criminal Justice, examined fatality risks during more than 11,000 police encounters, and found that black men and women, American Indian/Alaska Native men and women and Latinos face a higher lifetime risk of being killed by police than their white peers.
“The inequality is not surprising,” said lead author Frank Edwards, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Newark.
“All you have to do is turn on the news to see that people of color are at a much greater risk of police-related harm. What we lack in this country are the solid estimates of police-related deaths because there is no official database where this information is stored.”
The Rutgers study used data compiled by the National Vital Statistic System’s mortality files and Fatal Encounters, a journalist-led database that documents deaths involving police where cases are identified through public records and news coverage.
Black men face a 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police over their lifetime compared to about 1 in 2,000 for men in general and about 1 in 33,000 for women – about 20 times lower than men.