Police State by Don Krieger

Police State

… in the United States … 1 in every 1000 black men can expect to be killed by police.[1]

That is twenty thousand of the black men alive today.[2]

Though their risk is less by a factor of 2.5, there are six times as many white men; hence forty-eight thousand of them can expect to be killed by police.[3]

Overall, eighty-three thousand men and boys alive today in the US can expect to be killed by police.[4] That is two thirds of the U.S. COVID-19 fatalities to date.[5]

Though the racial disparity persists for women, their expectation of death at the hands of police is five percent that of men – perhaps cops fear women less.


[1] Edwards, Lee, and Esposito. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 116(34), 2019.

[2] 20,774 = 328,239,523 (US pop) x 0.492 (male fraction) x 0.134 (black fraction) x 0.00096 (96 per 100,000),

   https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219

[3] 48,055 = 328,239,523 (US pop) x 0.492 (male fraction) x 0.763 (white fraction) x 0.00039 (39 per 100,000)

[4] 83,976 = 328,239,523 (US pop) x 0.492 (male fraction) x 1.000                           x 0.00052 (52 per 100,000)

[5] 0.65 = 83,976/128,481 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports (July 4, 2020)

About the contributor

Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher whose focus is the electric activity within the brain. His full-length collection, "Discovery," is forthcoming from Cyberwit. He is a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Fellow. His work has appeared in Neurology, Live Mag!, Seneca Review, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Asahi Shimbun, Entropy, and others.

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