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Police Violence Among Top Public Health Issues, Says Study

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Police violence is apparently one of the top public health issues in the United States, according to a new published research.

Measuring Years Of Life Lost

The applicable metric the researchers used to measure the data is YLL (years of life lost). Normally, this type of measurement determines the possible lifespan of individuals (based on the country's life expectancy) given that they do not prematurely pass away due to an injury or identifiable disease.

Their finding supposedly claims that injuries sustained from the actions of authorities are mostly directed at young people of color. They further elaborated that encounters that resulted in force should be counted as a factor that influences YLL.

Furthermore, the group claims that public awareness is blindly focused on health issues like maternal deaths and meningitis, which supposedly seems one-sided.

Crunching The Numbers

The group collected YLL data from The Counted, a dataset that is publicly available courtesy of The Guardian, a British publication. For some odd reason, the researchers reportedly felt that the information provided by the former is more accurate compared to that of the National Vital Statistics System.

It seems that in 2015 and 2016, the numbers of deaths caused by police violence were 1,146 and 1,092 respectively. Further analysis shows that there is an average of 3.5 per million deaths supposedly caused by the local authorities.

Another breakdown reveals that African-Americans had the highest death rate of 7.2 per million, while Hispanic people came in second at 3.3 per million. White Americans allegedly had the lowest, with 2.9 per million only.

It looks like the goal of the group is to call the attention of the government to come up with more prevention efforts against police violence. They want to reclassify the cause as a public health issue in hopes of getting support from the appropriate individuals.

A Counter Argument

An article published by the American Council on Science and Health seeks to argue that the police violence research has some flaws. It pointed out that the research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health failed to include other factors.

A careful observation of the data used by authors supposedly overlooked the types of crime that were committed, which is epidemiological malpractice, according to the council. As an example, they shared a research done by Dr. Roland Fryer, an African-American economist from Harvard University.

His study concluded that depending on the context of the crime committed, for example, officer-related shootings, police officers do not consider race as a determinant of their actions when it turns into violence.

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