Understanding the Policing of Black, Disabled Bodies
Center for American Progress
Freddie Gray, Laquan MacDonald, Kevin Matthews, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Charleena Lyles, Sandra Bland, Quintonio LeGrier, Stephon Watts, Korryn Gaines, Natasha McKenna, Eric Smith, and Daniel Prude are all Black, disabled victims of state violence. In the United States, 50 percent of people killed by law enforcement are disabled, and more than half of disabled African Americans have been arrested by the time they turn 28—double the risk in comparison to their white disabled counterparts. While these statistics provide basic insight into how law enforcement engage with parts of the disability community, much remains unknown. Specifically, the United States must improve the mechanisms used for data collection on police encounters to provide an accurate, complete picture of these long-standing dynamics and misuse of force. In the ongoing efforts and discussion surrounding police reform and the need for shifting investments into different types of interventions, policymakers need to have solid data in order to refute messaging that minimizes the magnitude of the problem.