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Conn. Racial Profiling Panel Considers Health Outcomes For People Stopped By Police

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Experts in Connecticut say racial profiling can result in poor health outcomes and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Connecticut, spoke on the issue before members of the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project Advisory Board on Thursday. He cited several studies showing that adverse health effects are experienced by people subjected to racial profiling by police.

“It can cause emotional trauma, stress and depressive symptoms, contributes to fatal injuries, poor physical health symptoms, stress, financial strain, and institutionally oppressive practices,” said Laurencin.

Being racially profiled can cause high levels of stress and anxiety.

Laurencin cited a Journal of Mental Health Counseling study that found that 81% of African Americans who reported racial discrimination experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.

Negative health outcomes weren’t limited only to people who had direct contact with police. The poor health effects of racial profiling can spill over into the general population as well.

Laurencin pointed to a 2018 study in The Lancet that looked at the mental health of African Americans after an unarmed black man was killed by a police officer.

“And what they found was that killings of unarmed black Americans was associated with worse mental health among other black Americans. And this is the case in which the person, the black Americans don’t know the person being killed.”

Laurencin called racial profiling a “health disparity and public health issue.”

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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