Photo by Thomas Chauke Pexel
Discrimination against Black children is a long-standing issue, as revealed by several reports. One aspect of this discrimination rears its head in the form of police brutality, a problem that needs immediate attention. Statistics on police shootings reveal that Black kids are 6 times more likely to be shot than their white peers.
Let’s look at this report and understand the issue of Black kids killed by police in more detail. While we dig deep, discussing the ways out of this problem is also crucial.
The National Hospital in Washington, DC, conducted the research by analyzing data from death certificates compiled by the Center for Health Statistics. These death certificates also contain race and ethnicity details, making it easier for the researchers to extract the relevant information. Deaths of adolescents between 12-17 because of police intervention from 2003 to 2018 were recorded and compared to death rates of other ethnicities recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau.
About 93% of the children killed were boys, averaging age 16. Besides black kids, the death risk of Hispanic children was 3 times higher than their white peers. Racial discrimination and bias are evident from these reports and mirror the discrimination shown towards black adults in the country.
More Evidence of Police Brutality Against Black Children
Another report named #AssaultAt SpringValley unearthed another aspect of police brutality against black kids in December 2022. Published by the Advancement Project and the Alliance for Educational Justice, the report claims that 80% of incidents of police violence against young students had black kids as victims.
More than 285 cases were analyzed, of which 69% involved severe injuries, such as broken bones, concussions, and hospitalizations. There were also 24 cases of sexual assault and 5 deaths associated with these incidents.
The California Study
A study conducted by the University of California researchers has shown that Black kids are hospitalized far more than their white peers from police violence. They analyzed injuries of children and teens caused between 2005-2017, with data from emergency department visits and inpatient hospitalizations in California.
Black boys aged between 15-19 had the highest hospitalization rates. However, Black boys and girls aged between 10-14 were 5.3 and 6.7 times more likely to be injured than their white peers. Black girls were offered less protection from the police because they were considered older than they actually were and less innocent, which subjected them to more violence.
No Repercussions for Officers
The #AssaultAtSpringValley also revealed that despite the outcry, only 10% of officers involved in assaults faced the consequences for their actions. They only faced internal reviews, reassignments or were placed on leave instead. A heavy presence of police officers in schools presents the idea that Black and other communities of color must be controlled and kept under check.
Despite having a lot of data on police brutality against Black kids, the issue is still underreported. Therefore, the first thing to be done is to collect more quality population-based data nationwide.
One of the most critical things in this regard is the recognition of the issue and a willingness to address it. The police must assess the age while considering a threat, but age is just one factor. The ultimate goal should be to end police brutality and discrimination against black kids to give them an equal chance to thrive in society.