A newly released study doesn’t simply reinforce the overwhelmingly abundant proof that police officers kill blacks at twice the rates of their white counterparts. The study reveals that African Americans who suffer the ultimate effect of violence lose more years of life than whites on average, and that while there are almost five times as many white people in America, more black kids lose their lives at the hands of police before they finish their teenage years than the total number of whites.
Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Medical Health, “Years of Life Lost Due to Encounters With Law Enforcement in the USA” is a scientific study completed by epidemiologists and medical experts at the Harvard Medical School, UCLA School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health, all of which are institutions collectively referred to as “big brain schools.”
The study took data from The Guardian’s database on police shootings in 2015-2016, all of which are years collectively referred to by law enforcement officers as “the good ol’ days,” and by most black people as “the year I didn’t get shot.”
Instead of calculating how many cops received life sentences for murdering civilians (zero) or the disparity in incidents of police brutality, the researchers examined the years of life lost by victims of police violence. The study looked at the age of every victim killed by a law enforcement officer in the U.S. and calculated the difference between the victims’ ages at the time of their demise and the victims’ life expectancy.
In 2015, the median age at death for black people was 30 years old, younger than any other group besides Arab Americans (at 22 years old). On average, whites were 39 years old when they died at the hands of police.
According to the report, police kill blacks at 7.2 people per million, a rates that is much higher than every ethnicity except American Indians/Alaskan Natives (7.8 per million). Whites, in comparison, suffer police violence at a rate of 2.9 per million, less than half the rate of African Americans.
In 2016, the numbers were basically the same for everyone except American Indian/Alaskan Natives, who were killed at a rate of 10.1 per million, although blacks were still the youngest group on average to die from police violence.
In fact, until black kids reach the age of 20, police kill more black kids in total than any other race. Not on average. Total.
What does this mean in real numbers?
It means that the average black person is almost a decade younger than white people in similar situations when they are killed by police. It means that the average black person is more than twice as likely as a white person to be killed by police.
It means they kill our young.
Over the two years, people of color made up 38.5 percent of the population but accounted for 51.5 percent of the years of life lost. Blacks are 12.4 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 29.1 percent and 26.8 percent of all the years of life lost in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Although whites make up the majority of the U.S. population, they are a minority when it comes to lives lost through police shootings (48.5 percent).
Most notably, more people die from police violence in America than from accidental gun violence, meningitis and maternal deaths, yet only one of those four issues is addressed through public policy.
Unfortunately, the study did not count the number of potato-salad chokings by race.