How Segregation Shapes Fatal Police Violence

How Segregation Shapes Fatal Police Violence, Gene Demby, NPR Code Switch, March 2, 2018, available here

On the afternoon of April 13, 2014, Dontre Hamilton was lying on the ground near a bench in a Milwaukee city park. A police officer on patrol walked over to Hamilton and asked him to stand up. Their encounter would end in disaster.

The officer patted Hamilton down for weapons — which the police chief later said was not in line with department policy as Hamilton posed no apparent danger — and Hamilton, who had a history of mental health issues, grabbed the officer's baton. The officer in turn pulled out his service weapon. By the end of the interaction, Hamilton was dead, shot 14 times.

What happened to Hamilton part of a larger national phenomenon, in which unarmed black people are more likely to be shot and killed by the police than unarmed white people. And according to new research from the Boston University School of Public Health, there is no state where that disparity is larger than in Wisconsin.

The study's authors say that the biggest reason for that difference is segregation.

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