DeKalb, IL — A new study about children ages 12 to 17 reveal that Black kids were six times more likely to be fatally shot by police during legal interventions. Hispanic children’s risk of death was almost three times higher compared to white children.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., shows how racial and ethnic disparities in police use of force in children mirrors that of adults, experts said.
Over the course of 16 years, more than 100 children have been shot and killed by police, with deaths leaning significantly toward Black and Hispanic kids, the study found.
Between 2003 and 2018, 140 kids died from police intervention — 113 involved guns. Most of the deaths were male, 93%, with an average age of 16.
Dr. Monika Goyal, associate division chief of emergency medicine and trauma services at Children’s National, said recent events point to structural racism and bias among law enforcement for the reason behind the deaths.
“Any death of a child is devastating but when it is due to police violence, it leads to distrust in the system and undermines the primary mission to protect,” Goyal said in a news release.
Goyal said the study likely underestimates the “true toll of disparities” among firearm use against youth of color because they only collected data on kids who died and not for non-fatal shootings.
“The pattern of stark racial and ethnic disparities only adds to this tragedy, further oppressing and alienating communities of color. It’s important to investigate, identify and correct those policies and personnel that perpetuate and exacerbate these disparities.”