6:09 PM - Thousands Dying in Police Custody
Almost 7,000 individuals in Texas have died while in police custody or behind bars over the past 10 years, according to an online report released Wednesday by a University of Texas at Austin research institute. Nearly 2,000 people who died had not been convicted of a crime, Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis data shows.
"We can't have an informed conversation about who's dying at the hands of police or who's dying in jails if we don't literally know who's dying and how they're dying," said Amanda Woog, a postdoctoral fellow at the institute. "I think this information can help us get to the bottom causes of mortality in the criminal justice system and with that lead us to solutions."
Of the 6,913 incidents:
4,870 (70 percent of) individuals died of natural causes,
772 (11 percent) committed suicide,
573 (8 percent) died in a "justifiable homicide,"
275 (4 percent) died from alcohol or drug intoxication,
255 (4 percent) died for other reasons
168 (2 percent) died from an accidental injury
Forty-two percent (2,872) of the deceased were white, 30 percent (2,060) were black, 28 percent (1,915) were Hispanic and 1 percent (66) were from other racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to Woog's database. Sixty-eight percent were in prison, 16 percent died during an encounter with law enforcement before being booked, and another 16 percent died in a county or city jail.