National Security

Black children make up over half of minors handled forcibly by police: AP analysis


An analysis by The Associated Press released Wednesday found that many police departments across the country have few or no policies to specifically prevent excessive force incidents involving children, and that a majority of the minors handled forcibly are Black. 

The AP looked at 3,000 use-of-force instances involving children under 16 from the past 11 years. The data included 25 police departments in 17 states.

While that is a small sampling of nationwide police departments, more than 50 percent of the minors who were handled forcibly in these incidents were Black, despite Black children representing only 15 percent of U.S. minors. The most common uses of force involved takedowns, strikes and muscling down, the AP reported, followed by firearms being pointed or used.

After George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis officer, increased attention has been given to the disproportionate use of force that people of color often experience in police interactions. However, children have often been disregarded in reform efforts, the AP said. 

There are no laws that ban use of force on children, and while some police departments have policies that dictate how old a child must be to be handcuffed, most use-of-force policies make no mention of age, according to the AP.

“Adolescents are just so fundamentally different in so many respects, and the techniques that officers are accustomed to using … it just doesn’t lend itself to the interaction going well with youth,” Dylan Jackson, a criminologist who works on juvenile encounters with the Baltimore Police Department, told the newswire.

The AP added that the National Association of School Resource Officers offers trainings to help officers understand why minors respond to certain situations in the way that they do. However, not every department makes use of the training.  

Tags deaths in police custody police brutality police killings

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