University of Minnesota Study Examines Relationship of Young Black Men and Police

Studies have shown that police are three times more likely to kill Black men than White men. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health sought to examine the issue by speaking to young Black men, parents, educators, police officers, and staff of youth-services organizations.

The study found that:

  • Fear and distrust across stakeholder groups was seen as a cause of violent encounters — with youth fearing police after having seen or heard of violent encounters and officers fearing youth due to the availability of firearms and previous assaults on officers.
  • Except for police, all stakeholder groups felt violent encounters between police and young Black men were caused by officers lacking a connection with their communities.
  • Several stakeholder groups said racism and prejudice among police was another cause of violence between police and young Black men.
  • Positive interactions between police and youth were seen as the result of established, trusting relationships developed over time.

Collin Calvert, a Ph.D. student at the university and the lead author of the study stated that “any organization that wants to address violent encounters between police and young black youth should note where there is common ground in perceptions because it’s going to take cooperation between groups — police officers, teachers, youth organizations, health care providers and others — to address the issue.”

The full study, “Perceptions of Violent Encounters Between Police and Young Black Men Across Stakeholder Groups,” was published on the website of the Journal of Urban Health. It may be accessed here.

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