Home / Be The Change / New Study / First of Its Kind Study Shows 55,400 People Hospitalized or Killed by US Cops in a Single Year

First of Its Kind Study Shows 55,400 People Hospitalized or Killed by US Cops in a Single Year

police brutality problem

If anyone needed a reminder that America has a police brutality problem, the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile provided it. Actual numbers on violent police encounters are difficult to come by, but this dearth of data is getting more attention.

New research published in the British Medical Journal demonstrates the danger posed to citizens by the most routine police practice of a “legal stop.”

Researchers analyzed 12.3 million police interventions from 2012 and found that approximately 55,400 people were injured or killed by cops during legal stop and search incidents in one year. Of this number, about 1,000 were killed, with vast majority dying from gunshot wounds. The remaining 54,400 were hospitalized with serious injuries, mostly from blunt objects.

“On average, an estimated 1 in 291 stops/arrests resulted in hospital-treated injury or death of a suspect or bystander.”

Granted, some of these injuries or deaths were justified to protect officers or innocent people from actual violent people, but even the authors of the study conclude that these numbers reflect an “excess exposure” of people to police violence.

In an interview with Vocativ, lead author Ted Miller, of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, pointed out how many shooting deaths in the U.S. come from a police gun.

In one in 11 cases where someone died because someone else intentionally shot them, a police officer pulled the trigger,” said Miller.

The fact that cops are responsible for almost 10 percent of firearm-related homicides in the U.S.—which already has an extraordinarily high rate of gun deaths relative to other countries—should be enough to cause a serious rethinking of policing across the country.

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The new study also confirmed that minorities are targeted for stops at a far higher rate, although the likelihood of being injured or killed during that particular stop was equal for all groups.

Blacks and Hispanics are much more likely to be arrested when the police stop them than Whites or Asians. This differential may well result from racism,” said Miller. “But once you are stopped or arrested, the likelihood that you will be killed or seriously injured during that police interaction does not depend on your race.

Data showed “blacks were almost four times more likely than whites to be arrested or stopped by police.” This racial bias in policing has long been assumed, and research is starting to confirm this.

The death of Philando Castile demonstrated how ‘riding in a car while black’ can lead to the ultimate tragedy. Castile, who had been harassed by cops an unbelievable 52 times before, was killed for doing nothing more than reaching for his wallet—after informing the cop that he had a concealed-carry permit for the gun he possessed.

The entire incident started with Castile and his black girlfriend being pulled over for a purported broken taillight. Cops use these petty excuses to pull people over so they can escalate the situation in the hope of searching the vehicle for drugs or other “contraband,” especially when the occupants are blacks or Hispanics.

Even police chiefs are accepting these truisms and, in some cases, making changes within their departments.

Thomas Wydra, the police chief of Hamden, Connecticut, informed his officers that they should not be so concerned with “defective equipment” such as something hanging on the rearview mirror or an attachment on the license plate.

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One year later, defective equipment stops dropped from 19 percent to 8 percent of all motor vehicle stops, which resulted in the number of black people being pulled over falling by 25 percent.

Here is one clear answer to the problem of police violence being confirmed through empirical studies.

Stop pulling people over for petty “violations.” Stop pulling people over as an excuse to look for drugs. Extend this to people walking, riding a bike or otherwise going about their own business.

Just leave people alone unless they are actually causing harm to another person, and maybe the extraordinary rate of cops injuring and killing people could start falling. There is a way to address police brutality if only we look at the numbers and implement the basic solutions they suggest.

  • Robert Phillips

    Castile had a gun permit????? That will be the day!!!!!! Smartin-up America!!! These are not facts written about here!!!!!!

    • James Michael

      A permit is permission to do something lawful..Unless you are a child, no American requires any permit from sworn servants, that swore an OATH to protect and defend our rights…Stop apologizing for the traitors and felons murdering, kidnapping and falsely imprisoning innocent people….
      YOU like the ignorant cops are the one that does not comprehend the facts here….

    • Rena Wrapper

      Yes, he DID have a permit & the law requires anyone with a permit to immediately inform police. Lots of black people have permits! The problem is, cops get terrified of a black man with a permit, which is ridiculous and totally cowardice! If any man is respecting the officer and abiding by the requirement to inform a cop of a permit to carry so the cop doesn’t get startled, then OBVIOUSLY the law abiding man is not planning to attack the cop. Gees already!

      • DD

        You’re using reason and logic which is something that people like Robert Phillips doesn’t understand. He’s a scared privileged white guy who has been told his whole life who he should be afraid of.

  • George Plunkett III

    How many resisted or refused to comply with a lawful order ??

    • billdeserthills

      What’s that, do as I say or I’ll put you in the hospital?? Or maybe just kill your stupid ass. Sure sounds like criminal talk, to me

    • Rena Wrapper

      The majority always comply, that is NOT the problem. Asking questions is the problem. American cops don’t like to be questioned, especially if a citizen knows more about the law than a cop. Many of these harmed only had charges created against them while in hospital, made up charges to justify the beatings.

    • gininitaly

      According to the police, that would everyone who puts up their hands to defend themselves from a blow.

      • billdeserthills

        I got tossed in jail for resisting arrest and my hands were behind my back the entire time. Instead of simply arresting me, the cop tripped me and I fell down on his fat, stupid partner–That got me charged for attacking the police

        • gininitaly

          Thugs and sadists hired by the state to put fear in the citizenry.

          • billdeserthills

            Call some snipers!!

          • Abz B Zbas

            yeah, cause that hasn’t already had enough negative consequences.

          • billdeserthills

            it’s easy to criticize, tougher to fix a problem. If you have an idea, go ahead and spill it

          • Abz B Zbas

            calling in snipers to kill cops doesn’t fix any problems, if that is what you were suggesting.

          • billdeserthills

            It does seem to have fixed a few, but thanks for trying

          • gininitaly

            Posted elsewhere yesterday:

            Perhaps it’s time that the all police and soldiers realize how much they’ve been set up to be sacrificial pawns on the elites chessboard, just as much as we have been through their hands.

            Violence begets violence… and the only crop that is harvested is blood.

            This has all been planned…. aren’t all of us getting tired of being manipulated by those in power who have been dehumanizing us to increase violence for their profit and control for 70 years? We have been strategically divided and their only wish is for us to fight amongst ourselves. Solution? Stop letting them rule the game, UNITE and RESIST, quietly and without violence but in our overwhelming numbers, we have more power than we think!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_zOcOXhBBU

          • AlphaLady777

            So let’s start a civilian army/militia to overthrow the elites and change the status quo FOREVER!!!!

          • Giovanni Pincoletti

            That is the only way we will ever throw off the yoke of the Elite Banksters. Elements of the army and police forces would have to take sides with the people. We may stand a better chance with the army because the people seem to be at such odds with the local SS men, and they may seek retribution in a civil war or uprising.

          • TOPDOG1

            This is a police state.The home of the Authoritarians. That will not happen here, Control and reform is the only effective measure that will work. Surprisingly’many police themselves will support reform, Not all police are lying, murdering, robbing out-of-control gunslinger bastards.

    • David Hall

      21

      • TOPDOG1

        David. I am a multiple police abuse survivor. There are hundreds of thousands .perhaps millions of us out here who really wish a piece of their ass. The Authoritarians have the guns, they have commandeered and miss-directed nearly all the resources. They are plundering social programs intended for the citizens benefit. They can not be overcome. They only wish for war on us all. They will not get their wish even though they have already started it.. They will be brought down. After many years of torture, abuse and many years of incarnation much of which was to cover their crimes and violence against me, Also driven from my home and family, denied any opportunity for a normal life. I have lived long enough to see the beginning of their end. I have resisted Authoritarian tyranny many years and continue to resist even today. The satisfying part is that I am one who has helped to topple them. If it requires civilization to fall to bring them down we all lose. At least those bastards wont win.See you in Costa Rica. I recommend Mazatlan Mx.

    • ThomasJefferson

      Where do you people(?) come from? What is one who advertises himself,as one who Serves and Protects, giving ORDERS for in the first place? We have the option of disregarding doctors orders and there is no doubt that they TRULY do serve and protect! It’s a safe bet, until donut Nazi’s, dispense with the attitude that they are the AUTHORITIES, with the right to pretend they are a god,and the right to decide who lives and who dies on a whim, they will continue to be targets of those who rightfully feel that it is time for them be dealt with in the same manner as they are allowed to deal with we the people

    • billdeserthills

      How many have broken their Oath of Office?

  • Pauline MacLeod

    55,400 – I call bullshit.

    • Rena Wrapper

      The study and all its details are available to the public. This particular article is really reporting the actual facts. Just look up the British Medical Journal’s studies on “Injury Prevention” it is ALL there. Also click on the words “New research” in the article for a summary and links to other info. I check the sources all the time, this article is legit.

  • billdeserthills

    Now the real truth has come out, which is that the police actually hurt, jail and steal more from American’s Every Year, than the real crooks do.

    • gininitaly
      • billdeserthills

        Nice to see what I have always assumed in print!

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  • Zuko

    Consider this an open letter to the police who ‘serve and protect’ us to death, the criminal element in your police departments, and the police who choose to remain blind to reason, who use intimidation, misinformation and who sensationalize tragedy at every opportunity to forward their political agendas.

    Know this: The citizens of the United States, who you are supposed to serve and protect, will no longer stand on the sidelines while the police continue to assault and demonize us.

    To those policemen that claim they are good cops, yet do nothing when their fellow ‘bad cop’ commits a crime against the public — Fuck You. Although you refuse to do media interviews and tell the truth, we know that you understand the impacts that your silence has on our family and friends. We know that the vast majority of you see other police officers commit crimes, abuse the public, and serve with dishonesty and zero integrity. Although we hope in our hearts that you are the silent majority, sadly, that is not enough. Now, we have to ask for you to rise with us against the large, and very violent group of police in our cities who resist everything we all strive to attain — freedom, safety and the ability to live our lives happily and without fear.

    To the criminal element in our police departments – we do not fear you. We are not your punching bag and we will not simply stand by and accept your verbal or physical assaults. No matter what craziness occurs, we will always protect our fellow citizens against you. No matter how weak our criminal justice system, we will hunt you down again and again until they put you away or you go away. No matter how weak our policies we will find a way to make you understand that America isn’t where you want to live. Most importantly, though, take note of the following: If you actively assault us, we will use every option available to hold you accountable. If you use deadly force against us or use or attempt to use a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon against us, we will use deadly force against you and we WILL stop the threat to us and our fellow citizens.

    To the sensationalists, liars and race-baiters —we are done with you. At first it was good enough just to sit back and watch your ridiculous spectacle. No more. Now your rhetoric, lies and hate puts all of us citizens in danger. From now on we will call you out each and every time you tell a lie, twist the truth or otherwise engage in vile behavior meant to push your selfish agendas. If your behavior or untruths causes harm to us or the public, we will make every attempt to have you investigated, charged and prosecuted at the local, state or federal level to the fullest extent of the law. Your idiocy and lies are what caused the destruction in Boston and other cities around our country and we won’t be tolerating that here anymore.

    It is obvious to nearly everyone that the Police are attacking and lashing out at the citizens instead of attacking the real problem — those who commit crimes in police departments and those who enable the criminal element within their ranks. Are you not paying attention to what is happening around the country? As police commit heinous crimes on a daily basis in America, including Louisville, Baltimore, Tulsa, etc…citizens are suffering at the hands of killers and violent policemen. Yet you continue to attack citizens for standing up for our rights. Your attacks can’t stop the truth from shining through. The truth is that every day there are countless crimes that occur when police officers interact peacefully with all kinds of people, even during very calm circumstances.

    Your flawed logic and lack of reason regarding events that occur in our society makes you appear stunningly inept. Let me help you. All Police in America, regardless of race, creed, color, gender or national origin have the SAME rights and responsibilities as the citizens you are supposed to serve. No one gets a separate set of rules. Politicians may applaud you and your tactics – we do not. You and those you enable must abide by the law and comply with the law like everyone else. If you refuse to comply or even worse, attack an innocent civilian, expect to be met with force.

    Your ridiculous demands and anti-citizen attitude has reached a level that is unacceptable. You want our attention? Well you have it. Cease wiping your collective asses with the constitution, the very document you’ve swore an oath to uphold. Consider yourselves on notice. We challenge you to have the same integrity and dedication to actually serving the community that you say you do. We already have it. You need to get it.

    On behalf of the Citizens of the United States of America

    Disclaimer: This letter is not written as a threat to police officers, nor is it a call for others to commit any violence against police officers. The subject of this letter was reversed from the ‘citizens’ to the ‘police’ to show how ridiculous police officers and their intentions are. This ‘letter’ is to be considered nothing more than a parody or satire.

    • 30yrfed

      All cops and prosecutors are all corrupt. Just ask any cop
      or prosecutor if they have ever see a cop break the law (speeding, lying under
      oath, illegal parking, using excessive force etc) then ask them what they did
      about it considering that they have taken a sworn oath to enforce and uphold
      the law. You will have your answer..

      “The most dangerous men on earth are those who are afraid they are wimps”


      James Gilligan

  • Zuko

    Abolish police unions and require police to purchase and maintain their own liability insurance along with any bonding which may also be required.

  • Barber Gregor
  • Aaron H

    The picture with the girl in the blue bra is from Egypt, not the U.S. I wonder how many other photos this article is representing as U.S. police violence when it’s actually violence abroad?

  • Hugh Culliton

    To put this figure in context, Canada’s total dead in the 4 years of WW1, was 60,661. That includes her contribution and central role in the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele – two of the most bloody battles in human history.

  • email4kh

    Stop allowing cops to be investigated, charged and tried by their allies.
    It’s a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

  • Ahmad

    What pisses me off more is I can’t read the article/study or how the
    stats were obtained unless I pay for it. That indicates bias and I
    question it’s validity