For much of Black America, police brutality induces paralyzing fear because it often translates to public execution or assault on the streets with little-to-no chance of legal repercussion.
In NewsOne’s Investigative Series into Police Brutality, we compiled painful, though unsurprising statistics on the rate of murder and beatings in Black America at the hands of authority figures.
In data researched and compiled by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Black Left Unity Network, and U.S. Human Rights Network, the picture of how often — and fatally — Black people are victimized by police in this country becomes startling clear. Below are the details of the Black men and women who have been murdered at the hands of police so far this year:
Pattern of Murders By the Numbers Since January 1, 2012
Thirty cases of state sanctioned or justified murder of Black people in the first 3 months of 2012 alone have been found (due to under reporting and discriminatory methods of documentation, it is likely that there are more that our research has yet to uncover)
Of the 30 killed people, 20 were definitely unarmed. 2 probably had firearms, 8 were alleged to have non-lethal weapons.
Of the 30 killed people:
12 were innocent of any illegal behavior or behavior that involved a threat to anyone (although the killers claimed they looked “suspicious”);
8 were emotionally disturbed and/or displaying strange behavior.
The remaining 10 were either engaged in illegal or potentially illegal activity, or there was too little info to determine circumstances of their killing.
It appears that in all but two of these cases, illegal and/or harmful behavior could have been stopped without the use of lethal force.
In most cases, where planned, investigations of the deaths have not been completed.
Note: Only seven of the 30 killed people were over 30 years old and two of the six were 31 years old. Two were women.
As previously reported by NewsOne, in a study titled, “Race and Perceptions of Police Misconduct,” Ronald Weitzer joined with Steven A. Tuch, both of George Washington University, to examine the causation of negative perceptions of police in the Black community.
The study’s findings revealed that Black Americans face more police corruption, violence, and profiling than our White counterparts, leaving their perception of law enforcement — and Black Americans — colored by personal perspective and not collective reality:
Whites tend to hold a favorable opinion of the police, favor aggressive law enforcement, and are skeptical of criticisms of the police. There is a racial dimension to this orientation. Many Whites view Blacks as inclined to criminal or violent behavior (Swigert and Farrell 1976; Weitzer 2000; cf. Hurwitz and Peffley 1997).
In response to a question in the 2000 General Social Survey, 48 percent of Whites think that Blacks are “violence-prone.” For many Whites, controlling crime is roughly equivalent to intensifying law enforcement against minority individuals or in minority communities.
Click here to view the study’s findings.