The following editorial is written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
CHICAGO, IL- The war on police continues, this time from an unexpected source. During a Special Meeting of its House of Delegates, the American Medical Association recognized the “detrimental public health consequences of violent law enforcement interactions,” according to a press release from the AMA on Nov. 17.
Earlier this year, the AMA held a seminar on “Police Brutality and COVID-19.”
According to the press release, it “recognizes police brutality as a manifestation of structural racism, disproportionately impacting black, indigenous and other people of color.”
Not for nothing, but what an unadulterated crock of BS.
The press release cites “research” from the National Institute of Health and relates specifically to New York City, which has since stopped their policy of stop and frisk. Therefore, their “research” appears to be outdated.
Basically, what this research claims is that “male residents are affected by the escalation of stop-and-frisk policing in a neighborhood,” then says that “living in a context of aggressive policing is an important risk factor for men’s health.”
So, let’s take a look at the AMA’s claims. The claim is that minorities are “disproportionately” shot and killed by police officers, or subject to more police brutality.
We’ll look at the Washington Post’s database of police shootings, year to date, of unarmed black men.
For the year 2020, year to date, 11 unarmed blacks have been shot and killed by police officers. Of those “unarmed” blacks, the statistics do not indicate if they had access to a weapon nearby. For 2019, 14 unarmed blacks were shot and killed by blacks. For 2020 thus far, 852 people in total have been shot and killed by police.
Thus far in 2020, 14 unarmed whites have been shot and killed by police. For Hispanics and unknown race, there are five who were unarmed that have been shot and killed by police officers.
So, the question for the AMA is where is the “disproportionate” killing of “black, indigenous and other people of color?”
Ok; they claim “police brutality” as a manifestation of structural racism. Law Enforcement Today actually reported on this last year. We’ll break down what we found.
According to 2019 data, there were 328,240,469 people in the United States. Statista.com showed there were 670,279 full time officers in the US out of a total of 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers (according to National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund).
Statistically, there are approximately 2.1 police officers per thousand people, and officers come into contact with 17% of the population annually. Doing the math, that comes out to approximately 55,800,880 contacts annually.
For 2019, there were 26,000 excessive force complaints against police officers, or once for every 0.047% of contacts. Out of those complaints, only 8% were sustained. That comes out to 2,080 out of 53,380,300 contacts, or a “whopping” .0039%.
Even if police officers use excessive force more often on people of color as compared to whites, it is still an infinitesimal number.
So, what is the AMA’s plan?
- Work[ing] with interested parties on a public health effort to support the elimination of excessive use of force by law enforcement.
- Advocating against racial and discriminatory profiling by law enforcement through anti-bias training, individual monitoring, and other measures.
- Pushing for legislation and regulations that promote trauma-informed community-based safety practices.
The release claims that their “research” showed that “racially marginalized communities are disproportionally subjected to police force and racial profiling, and it underscores the correlation between violent policing and adverse health outcomes.
It gets better. It is also the fault of law enforcement, apparently, for other comorbidities experienced by minorities, such as “high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and premature morbidity and death.”
Yup, it’s the fault of police that minorities tend to eat the wrong kinds of food, leading to diabetes and high blood pressure, asthma we have no answer for, and premature morbidity and death? It almost sounds like the AMA is blaming the police for the higher death rates of blacks from COVID-19, which is absurd.
One AMA board member, Willie Underwood III, who has a bunch of letters after his name, claims, “The data makes clear that police brutality—one manifestation of systemic racism—has significant public health consequences for impacted communities, particularly among the black community.”
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He continued: “The AMA is dedicated to actively working on dismantling racist policies and practices across all of health care and we call on stakeholders to make systemic changes to protect public health and combat the detrimental effects that racism and communal violence have on the health of the nation.”
Just thinking, shouldn’t these quacks be working on dealing with COVID patients instead of telling the police how to do our jobs? But I digress.
The AMA stuck their nose in over the summer while urging Congress to “act on meaningful and effective policing reform legislation to protect the public health, urging necessary policing reforms to address the excessive use of law enforcement violence against individuals in minoritized communities.” Oh, and they also want “accountability for certain forms of potentially violent law enforcement activity.”
So, being the curious folks that we are, we figured since the medical profession was interested in alleged malfeasance by the police, we decided to check to see how doctors fare where it concerns their version of “officer involved deaths”…medical malpractice.
You see, unlike police, doctors have to carry malpractice insurance. Which is probably because they screw up…a lot.
We were given some statistics from our friends at Calibre Press and being the diligent fact-checkers that we are, we decided to check for ourselves. Surely, the 250,000 annual death total Calibre Press provided us had to be wrong. We’re talking a lot of people…a quarter of a million…every…single…year.
According to an article in CNBC from Feb 22, 2018, a study from Johns Hopkins reported a study claimed that number…250,000…died annually from medical errors. In fact, they said some estimates put the total much higher…440,000.
Hmmm…how weird is that? So, let’s look at this. The CNBC report was dated early in 2018, we’ll assume they used statistics from 2017. In 2017, 986 people were shot and killed by the police. That included people who were armed. But hey, we’re reasonable so we’ll give the good doctors the benefit of the doubt.
In 2017, a person would have been 253 times more likely to be killed by a doctor or medical professional than by a cop…even a cop who was justified in using deadly physical force.
Remove those who were armed from the equation and you are 3,521 times more likely to be a victim of medical malpractice than you are of being shot as an unarmed person by police, at least back in 2017. And, police use of force statistics have remained stable for years.
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.
In fact, a website called USAttorneys.com says that according to a Harvard Medical Practice study, hospitals serving minority populations were more likely to have repeated medical malpractice errors on record.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that minorities were less likely to receive quality healthcare. Many minorities, who are more likely to be uninsured, are less likely to be admitted to the hospital, including those with serious injuries. Of those admitted, they received fewer services and were more likely to die from their injuries. And cops are getting lectured why?
We cannot remember when we last heard of a police officer using deadly physical force against a child, if that, indeed, has ever happened. Doctors cannot make the same claim, however.
As the CNBC article related, Emily Jerry was 1-1/2 years old when she was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor. She went through numerous surgeries and chemotherapy and was finally said to be cancer-free.
However, doctors convinced Emily’s father, Christopher and his wife to continue Emily’s last scheduled chemotherapy session, a three-day marathon that would start on her second birthday.
We are pretty certain you now where this is going. On Emily’s final day of treatment, a pharmacy tech prepared Emily’s IV bag, filling it with more than 20 times the recommended dose of sodium chloride. Hours later, Emily was on life support and declared brain dead. She died three days later.
So, what accounts for the discrepancy between 250,000 malpractice deaths and 440,000? CYA…cover your ass. According to CNBC, doctors, funeral directors, coroners and ME’s rarely note on death certificates if human error or system failures were the cause. Much of this is currently buried because the CDC (aren’t we relying on them for coronavirus death data?) uses death certificates for their national death statistics.
We won’t even get into the opioid crisis. But, clearly, doctors have overprescribed drugs such as Oxycontin and other such drugs. These also lead to deaths…so that 440,000 may even be higher than that.
So, before doctors and the AMA tell police what to do and blame us for a perceived increase in every malady that affects minority communities, perhaps they should look in the mirror. They have a lot more to atone for than the police ever will.
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