Study Finds Police Killings Damages the Mental Health of Black People and Black Communities

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A recent report published in a leading British medical journal has confirmed concerns long-held by racial justice activists: police killings of African-Americans has damaging effects on the mental well-being of Black communities.


The study, published in The Lancet , found that when U.S. officers shoot and kill unarmed Black people, it has a negative impact on the mental state of Black Americans in those states Researchers pored over mental health survey data and a database on police shootings to solidify their findings, which they described as “observable and real.”

As someone who has worked closely with families of victims of unjust police killings, I can say first hand that it takes an enormous toll on the mental stability of family members and friends.

How does someone respond to the criminalization of a loved one? From the fist public report, the narrative is taken away from the victim, even when the victim is a black cop.

New York State has a history since the 1960’s that black cops in plain clothes or off duty have been shot, shot at, or killed by their white counterparts. These type incidents have never happened in reverse where are uniform black cops shoots a plain clothed or off duty white cop.

Should we be surprised at this report? The police are doing today what there was originally designed to do to black people since the emaciation proclamation.

Venkataramani, a health policy professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and fellow researchers Jacob Bor of Boston University, Alexander C. Tsai of Massachusetts General Hospital and David R. Williams of Harvard University, described their study as an attempt at examining the measurable harms of state-sanctioned violence on the broader psychological and mental well-being of Black Americans, The New York Times

Previous research has found that the chronic stress caused by experiences of racism can impact mental and physical health in myriad ways from higher rates of hypertension to increased incidence of breast cancer.

Racism is always the “pink elephant” in the room the everyone is afraid to talk about even black leaders today in 2018. The more studies show that racism plays a role in police policies, practice and culture the quieter are our local leaders.

There are many studies that support this position. The American Psychological Association has called “exposure to racism and discrimination” a cause for unusually high levels of stress unique to African-Americans. In 2012, the American Journal of Public Health dedicated an entire issue to the public health inequities based on race, including the “psychological distress” of racial discrimination. And the American Public Health Association released a policy statement explicitly affirming that “police brutality and excessive use of force are widely reported and have a disproportionate impact on people of color” and urging federal and state lawmakers to acknowledge and address the health consequences of police violence on people of color.

There should be no debate in 2018, that black communities and black people are under siege. With the recent wave a white people calling the police of black children, men, and women for nothing else but being black. This causes  Short-term stress and trauma, igniting a person’s adrenaline-fueled “fight or flight” response, leaves many people with long-term health consequences, like elevated blood pressure, a faster heartbeat, and increased stress hormones. Most of these symptoms increase a person’s likelihood of having heart disease — currently the leading cause of death among black people in America today.

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Damon K. Jones

Publisher at Urban Soul Media Group

Damon K. Jones is the Publisher and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company of BlackWestchester.com. Damon K. Jones is also the New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America

Damon has been a guest commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 FM), WLIB (1190 am) WRKS (98.7 FM), WBAI (99.5 FM) and Westchester's WVOX (1460 am). Mr. Jones has appeared on local television broadcasts including Westchester News 12 “News Makers” and Public Television “Winbrook Pride. You can now hear Damon every Wednesday at 830 AM on WFAS 1230 AM, Morning with Bob Marone Show

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