Dr. Rhea Boyd: Jacob Blake’s police shooting highlights the hidden victims of police violence

(NBC NEWS) Dr. Rhea Boyd, August 31, 2020

When Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Minnesota police during a traffic stop in 2016, he was sitting in the front seat of his car while his girlfriend’s daughter, a 4-year-old, sat in the back.

When Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old Black mother, was shot and killed during a 2016 standoff with police in Maryland, her 5-year-old son was sitting so close to her he was wounded by, but survived, the police fire.

When Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, was shot through the window of her Texas home during a police welfare check in 2019, her 8-year-old nephew witnessed so much of the encounter he was interviewed by officials to clarify the course of events.

And just this week, when Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black father, was shot multiple times in the back and severely injured by police while attempting to enter his vehicle in Wisconsin, his three children, ages 3, 5 and 8, sat just feet away, watching from inside the car.

Police kill about 1,000 people per year in cars, homes and neighborhoods across the United States. According to The Washington Post, 999 were shot and killed in 2019. And our kids are watching.

Police injure people and, as appears to be the case for Blake, those injuries can result in debilitating injuries and chronic impairments. In states like California, which openly reports criminal justice data, serious bodily injury is actually a far more common outcome than death, despite the fact that it is not as often publicized by the media. In 2019, when police used force in California, the victim suffered serious bodily injury more than 50 percent of the time. And our kids are watching.