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Am J Public Health. 2018 Sep;108(9):1241-1248. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304559. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Risk of Police-Involved Death by Race/Ethnicity and Place, United States, 2012-2018.

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Frank Edwards is with the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Michael H. Esposito is with the Department of Sociology, University of Washington, Seattle. Hedwig Lee is with the Department of Sociology, Washington University in St Louis, MO.



To estimate the risk of mortality from police homicide by race/ethnicity and place in the United States.


We used novel data on police-involved fatalities and Bayesian models to estimate mortality risk for Black, Latino, and White men for all US counties by Census division and metropolitan area type.


Police kill, on average, 2.8 men per day. Police were responsible for about 8% of all homicides with adult male victims between 2012 and 2018. Black men's mortality risk is between 1.9 and 2.4 deaths per 100‚ÄČ000 per year, Latino risk is between 0.8 and 1.2, and White risk is between 0.6 and 0.7.


Police homicide risk is higher than suggested by official data. Black and Latino men are at higher risk for death than are White men, and these disparities vary markedly across place. Public Health Implications. Homicide reduction efforts should consider interventions to reduce the use of lethal force by police. Efforts to address unequal police violence should target places with high mortality risk.


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