Black Children 6 Times More Likely To Be Fatally Shot By Police, Study Says

A new study published in the Pediatrics journal finds that Black children were six times more likely to be shot to death by police compared to white children over a 16-year time frame. 

The study also found that Latino children were times more likely to be shot compared to white kids. 

“The results are not surprising, but that doesn’t take away from the tragedy of these results,” Dr. Monika K. Goyal, the study’s lead researcher told CNN. “When we see that this extends to children, it makes this issue even more tragic.” 

The study offers statistical support to the fight to end police violence, a long battle advocates and communities have been fighting for generations. Cases like the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice highlight the police violence endured by Black children in America. 

The researchers found that 140 children died from a police encounter between 2003 and 2018. Of those cases, 131 involved guns, the study found. The victims were overwhelmingly male –– 93% –– and had an average age of 16 years. 

A press release from Children’s National Hospital, where Dr. Goyal is the associate division chief of Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services and director of Academic Affairs and research stated, “Although these numbers are small, Dr. Goyal notes that there’s a potential rippling effect, with the death of each child having wide-ranging impact on an entire community.”

“These findings are likely an underestimate of the true toll,” Dr. Goyal stated to CNN. “This [rate] did not include children who were shot but didn’t die.” 

Their research adds to the mounting data that highlights the disparities Black children face in America. Black and Latino children are more likely to require hospitalization after testing positive for COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, Black newborns were three times more likely to die while in the care of a white doctor compared to a Black doctor. Black children also go missing at higher rates than white children. 

Dr. Goyal and her team of researchers hope that their work can be used in efforts to bring about real changes. 

“Our country is truly reckoning with the differential use of police force in communities of color,” she said. “These disparities extend to youth, and my hope is that this data is a call to action to start engaging in that hard work to truly understand the policies that exacerbate these disparities."

Photos: Getty Images

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