National Security

Black girls involved in police use-of-force incidents far more often than white girls: report

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While Black boys bear most of the burden of minors who encounter police force, an investigation from the Marshall Project published Tuesday found that Black girls were involved in use-of-force incidents with police far more often than white girls. 

The investigation examined data from six large police departments and found that almost 4,000 children under the age of 17 from that data set experienced some form of police violence between 2015 and 2020.

Of those people, about 800, or about 20 percent, were Black girls, compared to just 120, or roughly 3 percent, for white girls.

Black boys accounted for more than 2,200 of the incidents. 

Many of the incidents analyzed in the investigation began with something minor, such as girls throwing candy or skipping school.

But when a girl talked back to an officer or did not take the officer’s instructions promptly, tensions often escalated. Some police officers body-slammed and punched the teens. Others used stun guns or pointed firearms at the girls, though none of the children or teenagers involved in the incidents examined were armed, the Marshall Project reported.

In New Orleans, where two-thirds of the girls are Black, every girl involved in use-of-force cases was Black, according to the data analyzed. A spokesman for the New Orleans Police Department told the Marshall Project that all but one of the incidents “involved lower levels of force (Hands, Takedown, Firearm Pointing, etc.).” 

In California, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley found thousands of children and teens went to the hospital following encounters with law enforcement between 2005 and 2017. Black girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were four times as likely to be hurt in those encounters than their white counterparts.

“The protections of childhood are not afforded to all children,” the study said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 21,000 minors were treated at hospitals for nonfatal injuries caused by police or security guards between 2015 and 2019. One-third of those minors were Black, but Black children account for just 13 percent of minors in the U.S., the Marshall Project added.

Another analysis by The Associated Press published last month 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 by police are Black.

Tags police brutality police use of force Police violence The Marshall Project

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