Study: Thousands died in police custody
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 2,000 criminal suspects died in police custody over a three-year period, half of them killed by officers as they scuffled or attempted to flee, the government said Thursday.
The study by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics is the first nationwide compilation of the reasons behind arrest-related deaths in the wake of high-profile police assaults or killings involving Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo in New York in the late 1990s.
The review found 55% of the 2,002 arrest-related deaths from 2003 through 2005 were due to homicide by state and local law enforcement officers. Alcohol and drug intoxication caused 13% of the deaths, followed by suicides at 12%, accidental injury at 7% and illness or natural causes, 6%. The causes for the deaths of the remaining 7% were unknown.