The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks spurred widespread protests against police brutality and racial injustices. Continuing the protests is a recent video recording of a policer officer in Kenosha, Wisc., shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back multiple times as he entered his vehicle and his children watched from inside the vehicle. Federal and local law enforcement responses to the shootings and the protests have both come under fire – but these responses are characteristic of larger law enforcement policies and institutions.

In policing, people often talk about bad apples. Well, bad apples come from rotten trees, and the rotten trees are law enforcement agencies imbued with structural racism. Standard processes for holding police officers accountable, issuing civil payouts to victims of brutality, and rehiring fired officers are a few of the factors that contribute to the entrenchment of racism and police brutality.

Black people are 3.5 times more likely than white people to be killed by police when Blacks are not attacking or do not have a weapon. George Floyd is an example. Black teenagers are 21 times more likely than white teenagers to be killed by police. That’s Tamir Rice and Antwon Rose. A Black person is killed about every 40 hours in the United States. That’s Jonathan Ferrell and Korryn Gaines. One out of every one thousand Black men can expect to be killed by police violence over the life course. This is Tamir Rice and Philando Castile.

Read the full article about police accountability by Rashawn Ray at Brookings.