A new study finds that Black kids in California were more likely to visit the hospital in connection with injuries caused by law enforcement. Researchers, who published their findings in JAMA Pediatrics (h/t Axios) found that almost 16,000 kids were treated for injuries between 2005 and 2017, based on emergency department and hospitalization data from that period.
Of that number, Black youth topped the list. Black boys between the ages of 15 to 19 years old “had the highest rate (200.9 per 100 000 person-years), experiencing 143.2 additional injuries per 100 000 person-years (95% CI, 134.8-151.6) compared with White boys of the same age (rate ratio, 3.5; 95% CI, 3.3-3.7),” according to the study.
Here is additional data, per JAMA Pediatrics:
Compared with White girls aged 15 to 19 years, Black girls of the same age experienced 4.3 times the injury rate (95% CI, 3.7-4.9). Relative inequities between Black and White youth were even greater among those aged 10 to 14 years. Black boys had 5.3 times (95% CI, 4.3-6.5) the injury rate of White boys, and Black girls experienced 6.7 times (95% CI, 4.8-9.5) the injury rate of White girls. The rate among Black girls was higher than all other groups except Black boys.
Legal intervention injury rates increased and then declined between 2005 and 2017, with Black boys experiencing a much sharper increase and later decline (Figure). The trajectory for Black girls was closer to that for White boys and Latinx or Hispanic boys than that of girls of any other race or ethnicity, and their rate of injury was higher than that of White and Latinx or Hispanic boys by 2017.
The researchers noted that adolescents are less likely to be injured by cops than adults, but when they are, the racial disparities are clear. Their analysis also noted that Black girls are more likely to be viewed as adults when compared to white girls.
The most notable limitation in the study, the researchers admitted, was that death certificate data underreport the deaths of Black people killed by law enforcement. If these patterns are true with hospital administrative data in this report, “the racial inequities documented in this study may be underestimated,” the researchers added.