In light of the recent racial tensions between cops and minorities nationwide, a new study may have the ability to change how we think about race in the United States.
In a new study published in the BMJ journal Injury Prevention, researchers have found that African Americans and Latinos are just as likely to be victims of police violence as white people. However African American and Latinos — men especially — are more likely to be pulled over, stopped, and questioned by the police.
And the result of this finding? Activists, civil rights lawyers, and angered people nationwide believe that these minority populations, especially men of color, are targets for racial harm at the hands of U.S. law enforcement officers.
Many are familiar with the tragic police shootings of African American men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier in July. Then the country watched in horror as a black man, angered by the shootings of these two men, opened fire on white police officers during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. These heartbreaking deaths have made activists question law enforcement over deliberate indifference, and to call for change. At the same time, many police officers feel disrespected and taken for granted.
Now, many activists are extremely skeptical of the new study, which seemed to suggest that law enforcement officers were not more likely to behave violently to black or Latino Americans. Also, simulation studies show that officers are are just as likely to fire on an armed person no matter their skin color. Even the researchers cautioned that the results should not be used to discredit claims of racially-motivated police violence.
The researchers wrote in their study, “The excess per-capita death rate of blacks from U.S. police action rightly concerns policy analysts, advocates and the press.” And for those minorities who suspect they are victims to harsher treatment, they added, “the excess appears to reflect exposure” to police, not more violent police tactics during encounters.”
The study analyzed records from every state to calculate a nationwide estimate of police-inflicted injuries and deaths in order to compare and contrast police behavioral patterns.
And according to the Los Angeles Times, “The picture it paints is of police actions that fall more heavily on minority populations, even as police mete out violence evenhandedly. When African Americans or Latinos are stopped and questioned by police, the new research found that police arrested them in 82% to 85% of cases,” far lower than the arrest rate for white Americans.
So what happens if you are a victim of police misconduct, or you have a personal injury law case that is racially motivated? Contacting a civil rights attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve. You may also be able to bypass court altogether, as only 4% of personal injury cases ever go to court, leaving a full 96% settled pretrial.
Remember, you have rights, and if you feel as if they have been taken advantage of, a civil rights lawyer can help.