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Death in custody puts spotlight on America's missing black men
Tuesday April 21, 2015 8:12 PM, Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington: As yet another black man died, this time in police custody, unleashing a fresh wave of protests asking whether black lives matter, a media report spoke of some 1.5 million missing black men in the United States.

For every 100 black women not in jail, there are only 83 black men, the New York Times reported Monday noting this gap - driven mostly by incarceration and early deaths - barely exists among whites with just one missing white man for every 100 white women.

"African-American men have long been more likely to be locked up and more likely to die young, but the scale of the combined toll is nonetheless jarring," the influential daily said.

"It is a measure of the deep disparities that continue to afflict black men and the gender gap is itself a further cause of social ills, leaving many communities without enough men to be fathers and husbands," the Times said.

The city with at least 10,000 black residents that has the single largest proportion of missing black men is Ferguson, Missouri, where a fatal police shooting last year led to nationwide protests, the paper noted.

Ferguson, where a Justice Department investigation found widespread discrimination against black residents, has 60 men for every 100 black women in the age group, it said citing Stephen Bronars, an economist.

The influential Time magazine recently listed 14 major instances of a white cop shooting dead a black person from 17-yearold Trayvon Martin being fatally shot on Feb 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida to the April 4 shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The New York Times report came as Baltimore, Maryland, police released videos Monday showing the arrest of a man who died of a severe spinal injury suffered in police custody.

Six officers have been suspended, but investigators say they still don't know how it happened, according to CBS News.

A week after the arrest of Freddie Gray, police said still don't have any videos or other evidence explaining what happened to cause the "medical emergency" that an arresting officer said Gray suffered while being taken to the local police station.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake vowed to provide the community with all the answers.

Police Commissioner Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he is ordering that police review and rewrite "effective immediately" its policies on moving prisoners and providing them with medical attention.

"We are a community on edge right now. We hear, I hear, the outrage. I hear the concern and I hear the fear," Batts said, asking for calm.

"We are on edge as a city, and I need your help to make sure we get this out in the proper way."

Gray's lawyers have accused police of covering up what happened, according to CBS News. They say police have video of the arrest itself, and accused the department of withholding it to hide the facts.

As activists protested excessive use of force even Baltimore city officials said they have more questions than answers, the news channel said.

About 50 people marched from City Hall to police headquarters Monday, carrying signs reading "Black lives matter" and "Jobs, not police killings." They unfurled a yellow banner reading "Stop police terror."

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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