Police Are Responsible For Thousands Of ER Visits Every Year

Blood pressure and heart rate monitor
Zain Murdock
July 14, 2021

According to a new report by the Marshall Project, 400,000 people have gone to the emergency room after police brutality injuries in the past few years.

And that’s an under-report.

Many police departments have “loose reporting requirements” and don’t end up calling ambulances for civilians they injure. But in a department that does, like San Jose’s, we now know police interactions often result in serious injuries ranging from dog bites to broken arms to internal damage.  

And of course, there are racial implications.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that police are at least twice as likely to initiate and use force against Black people nationwide. 

And specific data from places like D.C., where 91% of police use-of-force targets were Black people, and Ferguson, where Black people make up 93% of arrests, implies an even greater and more dangerous bias.

This leaves cities spending millions in tax dollars on use-of-force lawsuits, and survivors of violence owing thousands in expensive medical bills. And while police deaths are typically associated with gun violence, 60% of ER visits studied actually involved officers just using their hands.

It's more than just weapons and police brutality deaths we need to focus on – those statistics might make it easier to pretend policing is a small problem. But the reality is police are harming us in much greater numbers than we’d like to think.

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