The Nation’s Unprotected Children and the Ghost of Mike Brown, or the Impact of National Police Killings on the Health and Social Development of African American Boys

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



The correlation of experienced violence and racism or the perceived threat of either on mental illness and overall health has been well documented in health disparities research. Racism, either experienced or perceived, is associated with adverse health outcomes, especially in racial ethnic minorities. The current study explores the impact of national police brutality cases and extrajudicial killings on the social development, mental health, and overall well-being of young African American males. Further, we explain the social epidemic of police killings on the emotional and psychological well-being of African American boys and young men. The needs of Black male youth, relative to police killings, are captured, and persistent racial stereotypes that are often used to justify the extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American boys and young men are challenged. The current research is a pilot study that explores how awareness of national police killings impacts the mental health and social development of young African American boys. The current study has implications for community and public health research on violence and racism and specifically the public health impact of police killings on African American boys and young men. Recommendations for social policies that address national policing reform are discussed.




Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment