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Police Violence as a Public Health Issue

Posted by Steve Karimi | Aug 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

A Kent, Washington teenager was shot by a police officer in the early morning hours of August 6, 2019, just a day after a report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) said that police violence should be treated as a public health issue. The 15-year-old Kent teenager, who has a criminal history that includes theft of a firearm, robbery, and assault, was shot twice by police after being pulled over for driving with expired tags.

During the stop, an officer noticed a gun in the car and called for backup, but he shot the teenager before backup could arrive. None of the officers involved were wearing body cameras. The teenager is recovering from his gunshots at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. According to the Washington Post, as of August 6, 2019, 536 people have been shot by police this year.

Study Outlines Injustice

Although we don't know the ethnicity of the Kent teenagers, we do know this: black men are at a much higher risk of being killed by law enforcement than white men. According to the PNAS study, black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men, and the risk peaks between 20 and 35 years of age. Other ethnicities do not fare well against police: Latino men are 1.4 times more likely than whites to be killed, and Native American men are 1.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement.

The lead author of the report, Frank Edwards of Rutgers University's School of Criminal Justice, said, “The inequality is not surprising. All you have to do is turn on the news to see that people of color are at a much greater risk of police-related harm.”

Stories of young black men dying at the hands of police have been prevalent in the news over the last several years, from Tamir Rice's killing in 2014 to Botham Shem Jean in Dallas in 2018. But Edwards said that instead of relying on news stories to gather these statistics, a national official database needs to be created to store police-related deaths.

“The Bureau of Justice Statistics needs to develop a comprehensive system that would track police-related deaths,” said Edwards. ”We need to increase transparency of police use-of-force if we are going to decrease the number of civilian deaths in this country as a result of these encounters.”

Seattle Defense Attorney

So far in 2019, there have been 21 police-related shootings in Washington. If you were involved in a police-related incident where you were treated unjustly or even injured, call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777. Steve Karimi spent years as a prosecutor but now spends his time defending those accused of crimes in the Seattle area. Contact his office today for a free consultation of your case.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.