Sirry Alang Discusses Police Brutality as a Public Health Issue in Interview with SELF

The associate professor shares the importance of seeing police violence as a public health concern.

Story by

Emily Collins

SELF featured Sirry Alang, associate professor of sociology and health, medicine, and society, in the article "Why Police Brutality Is a Public Health Issue."

"Public health is about a population being healthy. When people experience police brutality, they become unhealthy," said Alang. 

Alang discussed the connection between police violence and public health, mentioning the direct cause of death and injury, the impact to mental health, and by building mistrust in the institutions meant to keep people safe. 

“The thing is, it’s not just when [an incident of police violence] happens. It is the constant anticipation that it could happen to you, it could happen to someone you know,” explained Alang when discussing mental health. This kind of stress and anticipation "is not visible to other people. It’s just part of the day-to-day experiences of groups that are disproportionately policed that the stress has become so chronic that it’s invisible."

Results from Alang's study, Police Brutality and Mistrust in Medical Institutions, and possible changes to policies are also shared in this article. 

"I think that highlighting police brutality as a public health issue might help us think about how we frame some of the inequalities and inequities in our other systems as public health issues," said Alang.

The full article can be read on the SELF website

Story by

Emily Collins