Toronto Metropolitan University

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Understanding the impact of police brutality on black sexually minoritized men

posted on 2023-08-25, 14:13 authored by Katherine G. Quinn, Travonne EdwardsTravonne Edwards, Anthony Johnson, Lois Takahashi, Andrea L. Dakin, Nora Bouacha, Dexter Voisin

Young Black gay, bisexual, and other sexually minoritized men (SMM) face high levels of police brutality and other negative, unwarranted encounters with the police. Such interactions have known health consequences. The purpose of this study was to understand the health, mental health, and social consequences of police brutality experienced by young Black SMM. We conducted in-depth interviews with 31 Black, cisgender men, ages of 16–30 and analyzed the data using thematic analysis. Our primary results are summarized in four themes: 1) Police brutality is built into the system and diminishes trust; 2) Videos and social media make visible violence that has long existed; 3) Police brutality contributes to anxiety and other psychosocial effects; and 4) Violence reduces feelings of safety and contributes to avoidance of police. Our results highlight the direct and vicarious police brutality participants are subjected to and sheds light on the effects of such violence on trust, perceived safety, anxiety, and trauma symptoms. Results from this study contribute to the needed public health conversation around police brutality against Black men, specifically shedding light on the experiences of Black SMM.