Hands Up: Police Shooting of Young Black Males: Implications for Social Work and Human Services

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Police shootings of young Black males that ultimately result in their death have become an all-too-common occurrence in this country. The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner have highlighted police relations with this population. Before viable solutions can be established, a number of areas need to be addressed that relate to the historical context in which police relations with this group exist that impact current relations between the police and young Black males, why their lives are seemingly given less value by society than those of their White counterparts, the role that spirituality and religiosity play that may help to make connections between them and the police, and the benefit of the Black church in fostering amicable police relations with young Black males. This article addresses these issues and concludes with recommendations for how the social work and human services professions, along with the Black church and police, can be responsive and proactive in addressing this social problem.

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