Conclusions: AP investigation reveals that black people are disproportionately impacted by police force | Trending Viral hub


PATERSON, New Jersey — Black people accounted for a disproportionate number of people who died after being restrained, beaten or electrocuted with stun guns by police officers in the United States, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

The investigation, led by AP with FRONTLINE (PBS) and the Howard Centers for Investigative Journalism, found that blacks of non-Hispanic descent accounted for about a third of the 1,036 police encounter deaths that AP cataloged over a decade, despite represent only 12% of the population.

Here are some takeaways from AP reporting:

The AP found that more than 330 black people died after encounters with police who used force that was not supposed to be deadly. The AP examined those deaths over a 10-year period ending in 2021 and compiled those incidents into a database.

The United States Department of Justice has documented racial disparities after investigations into multiple police departments in recent years. Several of them have found that blacks accounted for high rates of unjustified stops for minor offenses such as jaywalking, illegal searches and frisks that did not result in contraband, unnecessary force, or arrests without probable cause.

The death of Jameek Lowery in Paterson in 2019 reflects some of the themes uncovered by the AP.

Lowery, a lifelong resident of New Jersey’s third-largest city, said he wanted to move to North Carolina with his three children to be closer to his mother and get away from Paterson police, who worried he might be arrested. or bother him.

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been increasingly hallucinating and acting paranoid, relatives said, when he showed up at city police headquarters early on a Saturday in January in the midst of a mental breakdown. Barefoot and dressed only in pajama pants and a sweatshirt, Lowery pulled out his cell phone and began broadcasting an anti-police rant on social media.

“Why are they trying to kill me?” Lowery asked several Paterson police officers in the Facebook Live video of him. “If I’m dead in the next hour or two, they did it.”

Police called an ambulance and Lowery was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center. What happened in the ambulance became another flashpoint in the black community’s deteriorating relationship with the city’s police.

Lowery arrived unconscious at St. Joseph University Medical Center handcuffed to a gurney and died two days later. Officials would later say that the officers forcefully grabbed and punched Lowery when he kicked and punched them. His sister and his activists believe the police acted with excessive force because of his race.

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes reported in August 2019 that Lowery died as a result of a “medical event,” citing an autopsy that concluded he had suffered cardiac arrest while under the influence of bath salts. She said police force was not a factor in the death.

The mother of one of Lowery’s children sued the Paterson Police Department, three of its officers and St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he had been treated and released hours before going to police headquarters. . Her lawyers hired an expert, a former New York City medical examiner, to perform a second autopsy and review police reports, officer interviews and hospital records.

That expert, Dr. Michael Baden, wrote a 10-page report that found Lowery suffered “blunt traumatic” injuries to his face, jaw, arm and chest and found evidence of “compression asphyxiation.”

Lowery’s death sparked protests, particularly among black residents who have long complained that they have been mistreated by police.

In the mid-1960s, Paterson was the scene of street battles between police and black residents that coincided with the passage of federal civil rights legislation. Paterson was also the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was convicted by an all-white jury in 1967 of killing three white people in a city bar. A federal judge later threw out the conviction, writing that it had been “based on an appeal to racism rather than reason.”

Tensions between the city’s black residents and the police flared again and again. In the mid-1990s, white police officers shot and killed an unarmed black teenager and a 28-year-old man in separate incidents, sparking widespread outrage.

A few years ago, the force was criticized for allowing a group of dishonest officers to form a “robber squad” that for three years beat residents and stole their money. Since the beginning of 2019, four people have been shot dead by city police; Two others, including Lowery, died after being restrained.

Lowery’s death prompted the city to hire an outside group, the Police Executive Research Forum, to conduct an audit of the police department. The nonprofit organization released its findings in 2022 and found at least 602 use of force incidents between 2018 and 2020. Black people accounted for 57% of the incidents, while making up about a quarter of the city’s population .

In March 2023, police shot and killed Najee Seabrooks, a 31-year-old violence intervention worker who had barricaded himself inside an apartment bathroom. His death sparked an outcry from residents and advocates. Within weeks, state Attorney General Matt Platkin ordered the takeover of the police department. In an interview with the AP, Platkin said he took control, in part, because black residents have long complained about police discrimination.

“I don’t blame anyone who has lived in Paterson for a long period of time for being distrustful,” Platkin said.

Platkin said reforming the troubled police force will not be quick or easy.


This story is part of an ongoing investigation led by The Associated Press in collaboration with the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and FRONTLINE (PBS) programs. The investigation includes the Lethal Restraint interactive story, database and the documentary “Documenting Police Use Of Force,” premiering April 30 on PBS.


Contact the AP Global Investigative Team at or

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