Police officers have some of the toughest jobs in the country. Officers must protect citizens but may also need to protect themselves from some people who may resort to violence. Unfortunately, Ohio police officers sometimes make a bad call and harm someone who did not even have a weapon on them. Of all the demographics most likely to have bad interactions with police officers, Black men rank the highest.
CNN reports that Black men are almost three times more likely than others to die from police officers’ use of force. Yes, White men do represent the largest share of people killed by police officers. However, when adjusted for demographic shares of the wider population, Black men remain overrepresented.
Black men are not alone
Two other demographics also appear overrepresented among police killings, relative to their population sizes. These include Hispanic men and Natives. Hispanic men were 1.7 times more likely than White men to die at the hands of police officers. Native Americans and Alaska Natives had even higher rates, much closer to Blacks.
Racism plays a role
Not all police officers are racist, but many suffer from racial biases that can make a simple traffic stop a deadly interaction for people of color. The CNN article shares that police officers often hold implicit biases that associate people of color with violence and crime. This may cause them to act more aggressively than they otherwise might when interacting with Whites.
Ohio ranks among the worst
As a state, Ohio’s cities have routinely come under fire for the prevalence of incidents involving Black deaths during police interactions. USA Today identifies Columbus, Ohio, as one such city, but argues that the reputation is worse than the truth. The city ranks 22nd in America for police killings.
Some might argue that 22nd place is nothing to celebrate, either. After all, it only takes one case to cause pain and disrupt communities.