Even as the 'Black Lives Matter' movement continues to shed light on the increasing incidents of black people being shot by law enforcement officers in the US, a new study has found that the mental trauma from such incidents has become a public health issue.
With many unarmed black Americans getting shot in recent years by the US police, the entire black community has come under immense mental stress, the study published in Lancet said. Researchers found that black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by law enforcement officials than their white counterparts.
The most recent case in which the police killed an unarmed black American was reported on March 18, 2018 when Stephen Clark was shot by police in his grandparent's backyard. He was shot because his cellphone was confused for a gun, reports said. The incident led to protests throughout the nation, sparking the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
In July 2016, Philando Castile was shot dead by officer Jeronimo Yanez. The radio calls showed that the officer took the victim for a robber. When the officer came to know that Castile had a gun in the car, he shot him twice in the chest. The victim's girlfriend streamed the incident live on Facebook. The law did not find him guilty of manslaughter and he walked free in 2017.
On July 5, 2016, another black American, Altron Sterling, was shot dead outside a Baton Rouge store where he was selling CDs. Louisiana's state attorney general later announced that there would be no charges on the police.
The recent study found that such incidents affect the mental health of the Black Americans in the nation. In fact, the effect is not only seen on the close relatives of the victims but also in other people in the community.
The paper in The Lancet was based on data from 40,000 Black Americans who participated in an interview over three months.
The researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania gathered newly released data from the Mapping Police Violence Project database on police killings between 2013 and 2016 along with the data from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.