Study sheds light on mental impact police killings have on Black Americans

Health

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the nation reacts to Derek Chauvin’s conviction, a first-of-its-kind study shows the impact police killings have on the mental health of many black families.  

The George Floyd case has gripped the nation. For Richard Parker, seeing another black man die after interacting with law enforcement is overwhelming.

“It gets difficult. I don’t want to live in a constant state of rage and fear,” Parker said. “Sometimes I have to tune it out. I hate to admit that publicly, but I got to protect my peace.

A new study from a group of U.S. researchers shows the significant negative toll police killings of Black Americans has on the mental health of other Black Americans.

“Weeks where we have two or more incidents of these high profile acts of racial violence, Black Americans report a higher number of poor mental health days,” said David Curtis, Assistant Professor at the University of Utah.

The study analyzed nearly 50 highly publicized incidents from 2013 to 2017, including cases involving Freddie Gray, Philando Castille and Michael Brown, where officers were not convicted.

“We find that it’s the legal decisions to not indict or convict officers that’s the strongest predictor of poor mental health days,” Curtis said.

Parker believes much more work still needs to be done.

“What about everyone else who have lost their lives. Where is their justice?” Parker asked. “We can’t just celebrate one when the system is still broken.”

He says he is relieved there was a conviction this time, but he will keep fighting for a world where police violence does not exist.

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