Half the Victims of Police Brutality Are People With Disabilities, Study Finds


Mounted police officer block protestors as they march, chant, shout and block intersections and stores along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile' shopping area. (photo: EPA)
Mounted police officer block protestors as they march, chant, shout and block intersections and stores along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile’ shopping area. (photo: EPA)

 

Alex Zielinski | Think Progress | Reader Supported News | March 9, 2016

esearchers have uncovered a commonly missing factor in police brutality stories: A victim’s disability. According to an in-depth study published this week by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a disabled advocacy group, up to half of all people killed by law enforcement are living with a disability.

This is the case for the majority of the high-profile incidents in the last few years, many of which have become the face of the Black Lives Matter movement, the study finds.

Freddie Gray was a victim of lead poisoning, which can cause developmental disabilities (a fear that’s become more widespread in the aftermath of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis). Sandra Bland had epilepsy, and being jailed without her medication may have unleashed depressive side effects some say lead to her alleged suicide. And officials claimed Eric Garner “almost definitely…would not have died” if he hadn’t suffered from serious obesity — seeming to blame Garner’s disability for his death.

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