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APHA calls out police violence as a public health crisis

Date: Jun 04 2020

Contact APHA Media Relations, 202-777-3913

A statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD

The American Public Health Association denounces the use of violent methods by law enforcement against peaceful protesters. The current protests are the result of the American people rightfully demanding an end to the racial profiling by some police officers and a system of structured racism resulting in disproportionate harm to the health of individuals and communities of color.
We stand by the millions of people across the country and around the world who have come together to speak out against the unjust killing of George Floyd — itself an act of police violence — and we demand that peaceful demonstrators be treated with the dignity and respect our Constitution guarantees. 
Now is the time to listen to these voices, not suppress them. We must all work together for change against the injustice harming our communities. We encourage law enforcement to restrain from using unnecessary force that causes further anguish and harm.

We also condemn police violence against community residents who have expressed frustration and despair over day-to-day racism. This racism, while far too commonplace in our health care system, in housing, in employment and beyond, has rocked this nation and is tantamount to a public health crisis.

APHA’s 2018 policy statement affirms that law enforcement violence is a public health issue. We emphatically restate that perspective and our resolve to address it. 


APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.