A groundbreaking study has found that every day in the United States, three men are fatally injured at the hands of police who use deadly force. Shockingly, this means that almost 10 percent of all adult male fatalities are the result of force exerted by the police. The study was conducted by researchers at Cornell University and published in the American Journal of Public Health. These new findings nearly double earlier statistics on police-related fatalities.
According to the study, official statistics show that about four percent of all homicides with male adult victims are due to police force. However, researchers found that the numbers are not being accurately reported. Previous studies relied on data gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Arrest-Related Deaths program and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data. Much of this data was either voluntarily reported, or limited in scope, and therefore is likely to be inaccurate and misleadingly low. One study found that between 2012 and 2018, approximately 2.8 men on average were fatally injured at the hands of police every day in the United States.
Instead of relying on these unreliable data sources, the research team began collecting data through public records and media coverage. The results of their research is troubling. African-American men are 3.2 to 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than Caucasian men; and Latino men are 1.4 to 1.7 times more likely to be fatally injured by police than Caucasian men. Not surprisingly, an individual’s risk varies by their location as well. Most police related fatalities occur in large urban areas, as opposed to rural and suburban areas.
In the six-year period studied (between 2012 and 2018), 6,295 men were fatally injured by police. Most of these victims were white males, resulting in 2,993 victims. Over 1,700 of the victims were African American. However, the rate of African-American and Latino fatalities was higher in proportion to the overall population ratio for those groups because they were racial minorities. In other words, for every 100,000 white male homicide victims, 0.6 were fatally injured by police. Yet, for every 100,000 African American homicide victims, 2.1 were fatally injured by police.
The lead researcher has pointed out that although his study is more accurate than prior research, it still does not tell the whole story. He says that even his numbers are an undercounted misrepresentation. The numbers are overly conservative, perhaps because many fatalities at the hands of police are simply not reported, or officially classified as having a different cause.
If you or someone you love has experienced excessive or fatal force at the hands of police, you have legal rights. At Williams Cedar, our Pennsylvania civil rights lawyers are dedicated to fighting back for those who have had their rights trampled by the entities that should be protecting the public. We can help you get answers about what happened, while holding the responsible parties accountable. Although monetary damages cannot fully compensate you for the losses you have suffered, it is a step towards recovering from your experience of social injustice. To discuss your case, call us at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a free confidential consultation. With office locations in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and across the nation.