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.
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