Report: 50% Of Those Killed by Police Have a Disability

Disability advocates are urging more of a conversation around the intersection of police brutality and disability rights.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

According to recent reports, almost half of the people who die at the hands of police have some kind of disability. The Ruderman Family Foundation, a disability organization, makes the argument that disability and health considerations are still widely neglected in media coverage and law enforcement policy when discussing the cases of civilians killed by the police.

"Police have become the default responders to mental health calls," the authors write. They propose that "people with psychiatric disabilities" are presumed to be "dangerous to themselves and others" in police interactions. The report also discusses the idea that while coverage of police brutality cases has been understandably "focused on race," that attention also needs to be focused on how disability factors into police interactions.

Jim Cavanaugh, a former federal agent and MSNBC analyst, said that, "Officers are action-oriented people." He added that the "training always has to be a slow evaluation, if possible." Cavanaugh explained that if, mechanisms to help people with disabilities or mental illness have failed, it’s the police who end up getting involved in the situation. "Every crisis in this society," he said, "always gets dumped right in front of the officer."

Authors of the report recommend that police adopt training to better address people with disabilities. They also advocate that public discussion of police brutality should also consider the intersection of disability, class and race while scrutinizing police use of force.

Here’s what Jesse Ventura has to say about police brutality:

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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