Excessive police violence evident in emergency care cases, say US doctors

December 23, 2008

Excessive police violence is evident in the types of injury and trauma emergency care doctors are treating in the US, indicates research published in Emergency Medicine Journal.

The findings are based on 315 responses to a representative survey of 393 academic emergency care doctors across the USA.

There are around 800,000 police (law enforcement) officers in the USA, and figures for 2002 show that just short of the 45 million people who had a face to face encounter with one, did so at the behest of the officer.

Almost all (99.8%) of respondents believed that the police use excessive force to arrest and detain suspects.

And a similar number (98%) confirmed that they had treated patients who they suspected had sustained injuries/bruising inflicted by police officers.

Around two thirds of respondents said they had treated two or more such cases a year.

Doctors working in public facilities were more than four times as likely to report treating patients who had been the victims of excessive police force than doctors working at university or community teaching emergency care departments.

The most frequently cited type of injury was blunt trauma inflicted by fists or feet. Around three out of four cited overly tight handcuffs.

Seven out of 10 (71%) doctors said they had not reported these incidents and over 95% said they had no departmental policies on reporting their suspicions.

A high proportion of respondents (94%) said they had not been given any training on how to handle such cases.

But around 70% felt they should be reporting incidents of this kind, while just under half felt it should be a statutory requirement to do so, as it is for child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.

The authors point out that the police do sometimes have to use coercive force, ranging across a spectrum from voice commands through physical restraint and use of chemical sprays, batons, and dogs, to lethal firearms.

Most police departments do not keep records of how often coercive force is used in confrontational situations, say the authors, but estimates suggest that this applies in around 8% of encounters.

How often it escalates to excessive force is not known, they add. But the World Health Organization classifies Injury and death caused by excessive force at the hands of police officers a breach of human rights.
-end-


BMJ

Related Domestic Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

As domestic violence spikes, many victims and their children have nowhere to live
COVID-19 has left many victims of domestic violence facing difficulties feeding their children and accessing services for safe housing, transportation and childcare once they leave shelters, according to a Rutgers study published in the journal Violence Against Women.

New study shows increase in domestic violence injuries during COVID-19
There was a higher incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) among patients seen at a large, academic medical center in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the prior three years, according to a new study.

Domestic violence increased in the great recession
Researchers found that physical abuse in adults increased substantially, with Black and Native American people being disproportionately affected.

Mothering in domestic violence: Protecting children behind closed doors
As emerging data shows an alarming rise of domestic violence during the pandemic, researchers at the University of South Australia are urging practitioners to look beyond clinical observations and focus on the strengths that mothers exercise to protect their children from domestic abuse.

Training family doctors to better support domestic violence survivors
Women who are experiencing domestic violence feel better supported, more confident and less depressed when they are counselled by trained family doctors, according to new research.

Domestic violence reduces likelihood of mothers breastfeeding in developing countries
Mothers who have suffered from domestic violence are substantially less likely to follow recommended breastfeeding practices in low to middle-income countries, a new study shows.

Treatment for sexual and domestic violence offenders does work
A first-of-its-kind meta-study has found that specialised psychological programmes for sexual and domestic violence offenders have led to major reductions in reoffending but best results are achieved with consistent input from a qualified psychologist.

Study: Brain injury common in domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors commonly suffer repeated blows to the head and strangulation, trauma that has lasting effects that should be widely recognized by advocates, health care providers, law enforcement and others who are in a position to help, according to the authors of a new study.

Dentists can be the first line of defense against domestic violence
New findings indicate that oral biomarkers may help health providers identify victims of domestic violence.

Radiologists can help identify victims of domestic violence
Radiologists may play a crucial role in identifying signs of intimate partner violence, a type of domestic violence, according to a new study.

Read More: Domestic Violence News and Domestic Violence Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.