A rather shocking study published this month by the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, names police officers as the sixth leading cause of death among young men. Police killings were only preceded in frequency by accidental death, a category that includes drug overdoses and car accidents, at 76.6 deaths per 100,000, followed by suicide (26.7), other homicides (22.0), heart disease (7.0), and cancer (6.3). These killings by police include shooting, choking, beating, and various other ways police have taken the lives of Americans.
“Police violence is a leading cause of death for young men in the United States,” the study explains. “Over the life course, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police. Risk of being killed by police peaks between the ages of 20 y and 35 y for men and women and for all racial and ethnic groups. Black women and men and American Indian and Alaska Native women and men are significantly more likely than white women and men to be killed by police. Latino men are also more likely to be killed by police than are white men.”
Even more damning than finding out that police are a leading cause of death for young men is the fact that the lead researcher of the study, and an assistant professor at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Frank Edwards says the numbers “may be an undercount.”
“Police departments have very little incentive to record the number of deaths, nor are they mandated to do so,” Edwards said.
Since 2015, independent outlets have stepped up and conducted counts of their own because the police will not do it. What these counts show is that since 2015, police in America have claimed the lives of 4,514 citizens.
The apologists will claim that these thousands of Americans all deserved to die because police would never shoot innocent people. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While some of these citizens were armed and dangerous, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.
Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops — one of whom was released in June month after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death.
The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem or even talking about it is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.
The result of this complacency and failure to address the problem has been less freedom and more gun grabs.
Clearly, the above solutions have done nothing to curb the problem as an average of 3 Americans are killed every day by police. Although many people choose to ignore it or claim it doesn’t exist, the current system of policing in America only serves to perpetuate racial disparity and inequality in terms of treatment under the law.
“There’s clear evidence that shows the harmful and distinct ways police violence expands inequality,” Edwards said, citing other research that shows “stop and frisk” and aggressive policing can affect both mental and physical health. “Policing plays a key role in maintaining structural inequalities between people of color and white people in the United States.”
If you doubt this, you need only look at the war on drugs and and the problem it presents to minorities as they find themselves victims to far more police brutality and harsher penalties in regards to drug enforcement despite using at the same rate as their white counterparts.
Congressman Ron Paul has been saying this for decades.
[Black peope] are tried and imprisoned disproportionately. They suffer the consequence of the death penalty disproportionately. Rich white people don’t get the death penalty very often. And most of these are victimless crimes. Sometimes people can use drugs and get arrested three times and never committed a violent act and they can go to prison for life. I think there’s discrimination in the system, but you have to address the drug war. I would say the judicial system is probably one of the worst places where prejudice and discrimination still exists in this country.
We’ve seen the outcome of ignoring the problem or attempting to rationalize it and it is more of the same. Until drastic shifts in policy are implemented that hold bad cops accountable, we can expect no change. Until police officers are held personally responsible for the damage they unleash, nothing will change. Until the drug war is brought to a screeching halt, racial disparity, unnecessary violent police interactions, and death will continue to be the calling card for law enforcement in the land of the free.