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AMA statement on police brutality in Chicago


Statement attributable to: Susan R. Bailey, M.D., American Medical Association President

"In video footage released yesterday, Chicago and the world again see a child's life cut tragically short at the hands of police. This is unacceptable. While much is unknown about the circumstances that led to Adam Toledo - a 13-year-old Latino youth - being killed, we see that all too often when it comes to Black and Brown bodies there is little margin for error.

"Chicago is the AMA's hometown and we know firsthand that our city is in urgent need of police reform. We strongly urge the Chicago Police Department and other policymakers to make the changes necessary to eliminate the excessive use of force by law enforcement and end racial and discriminatory profiling by police. We urge reforms and approaches that promote trauma-informed, community-based safety practices, among other measures, to prevent the senseless killing of innocent children. Everyone's life is valuable and we deserve better in this city and this country.

"Police brutality is a manifestation of structural racism. Black, Brown, Indigenous and even Asian people continue to face significant harms through violence perpetuated by police. This leads to detrimental public health consequences in our entire society, with communities of color harmed most by witnessing and experiencing this police brutality. Every additional incident continues to add onto the inter-generational trauma. Adam Toledo's death must be a catalyst to dismantle structural racism in our city and our society."

Editor's note: Last year, in the wake of George Floyd's killing, the AMA called for an end to police brutality and for uniform training, transparency in reporting, and accountability for law enforcement. The AMA House of Delegates also recognized the detrimental public health consequences of violent law enforcement interactions and adopted policy addressing the need for policing reform.


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