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New study: high rate of use-of-force deaths among young black men

Omaha police work to fight the problem
Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-24 09:06:56-04

OMAHA, Neb. — A new study run by multiple universities across the country shows a jarring statistic when it comes to police use-of-force and young men of color.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, found that police violence is the sixth leading cause of death for African American men, right behind cancer and heart disease. The study also found that black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white men. Approximately 100 in 100,000 black men and boys will be killed by police in their lifetimes, compared to 39 in 100,000 white men and boys.

Rosalind moore - Vice President, Miller Park Minne Lusa Neighborhood Assoc.

"It makes me feel very, very sad I'm not going to celebrate anything like that but I can honestly say I'm proud to live where I don't feel as though it's happening here," Vice President of the Miller Park Minne Lusa Neighborhood Association, Rosalind Moore said.

The Omaha Police Department says they're doing everything they can to combat this statistic.

"Nobody wants to see violence within their neighborhood, so building that trust and that relationship is important," Deputy Chief Ken Kanger said.

They plan to do that through strong community relations.

"The Omaha Police Department kind of sets themselves aside with respect to other departments. You have to be engaged in the community, when that happens you see a reduction of crime, you see more people willing to come forward because that trust and those relationships are built," Deputy Chief Kanger said.

The police department is out in the community - putting hoops up in the neighborhoods and playing basketball with the kids.

"Eight cops, and they're playing basketball with the kids. You don't see that every day," one north Omaha resident said.

And even participating in community events like the Easter Egg Hunt and Fun in the Park.

"And they give away bicycles, they have the horses, the cars, the helicopter. They're right there talking to the children, playing with them," Moore said.

It's not just OPD that says the community relations are strong. Local community leaders back that up as well.

"I do think our city does try to work together with everyone, to try to prevent those things that are happening in those areas," Moore said.

"Things don't have to rise to the level of force, especially when you have strong community relations," Deputy Chief Ken Kanger added.

"They explain that their intent is not to harm people and they do everything humanly possible not to have to do that," Moore said.