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New Study Shows Negative Toll Police Killings Has On Mental Health Of Black Americans

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the nation reacts to the conviction of Derek Chauvin, a new study from a group of U.S. researchers shows the significant negative toll police killings of Black Americans has on the mental health of other Black Americans.

"Weeks where we have two or more incidents of these high-profile acts of racial violence, Black Americans report a higher number of poor mental health days," said David Curtis, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah.

The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed nearly 50 highly publicized incidents from 2013 to 2017, including cases involving Freddie Gray, Philando Castile and Michael Brown, where officers were not convicted.

"We find that it's the legal decisions to not indict or convict officers that's the strongest or only significant predictor of poor mental health days," Curtis said.

According to a previous study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "about one in every 1,000 Black men can expect to be killed by police."

Researchers say it's critical to address racial violence and the public health impact.

The George Floyd case has gripped the nation. Richard Parker said seeing another Black man die after interacting with law enforcement is overwhelming.

"It gets difficult. I don't want to live in a constant state of rage, and anger, and fear, so sometimes I just try to tune it out. And I hate to admit that publicly, but I got to protect my peace," he said.

Parker believes much more work still needs to be done.

"What about everybody else, you know, who have lost their lives? Where is their justice? We can't just celebrate one when the system is still broken," he said.

Parker was happy there was a conviction this time, but he'll keep fighting for a world where police violence doesn't exist.

Researchers began analyzing the data prior to George Floyd's death.

In May 2020, they received additional resources to complete the study.

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