From The Free Thought Project:
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.
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.
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 …