Images Are Important: An Apology

Images are Important: An Apology from NIMHD's Director

By Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

On November 10, NIMHD shared an image through our online channels that was intended to reflect the results of a recent study, which found that police killings are dramatically underreported. Mortality from police violence is more than two times greater than what is reported in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System—and the under-reporting is particularly marked for African American individuals. I was one of the co-authors of this research paper and I am profoundly saddened that so many people die during encounters with police every year.

The picture chosen was intended to reflect the unfortunate reality that occurs all too often. However, the image was insensitive and deeply disheartening. Our thoughtful research community has made it clear to us that by sharing this image, NIMHD unintentionally retraumatized people who experience the indignities, dangers, violence, and stress of racism every day. We sincerely apologize. We have removed the image and will do better in future postings.

Improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is the everyday work of this Institute. NIMHD is committed to continuing to lead the scientific efforts to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions to manage, reduce, and eliminate structural racism and discrimination.

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13 thoughts on “Images Are Important: An Apology

  1. This article is flawed when applying the increase of police inflicting deadly force on citizens when in fact it’s the other way around, This report is dis-information causing the killings in the 1st place……..

  2. If as you state, “Improving the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is the everyday work of this Institute.” Than why have you refused to assess and address the contamination of many Caribbean and Latinx homes with elemental mercury resulting from its magico-religious uses in those communities, especially the intentional sprinkling of mean weights 10 grams of mercury on floors, where it persists for decades, all the while liberating developmentally neurotoxic levels of mercury vapor, for all current and future occupants to inhale.

    See Google / Google Scholar KEY WORDS for information. The NIMHD needs to address this systemic failure of both government and NGOs, and act to prevent these ongoing domestic mercury exposures.

    EPA Region 2 awarded two Environmental Justice – Pollution Prevention (EJPP) awards to investigate this environmental justice violation in 1996 and 1998, but the researchers failed to get the necessary cooperation from the impacted community they were attempting to assist.

  3. Thank you for acknowledging the error and for the public apology – it goes a long way to help heal the unintentional woundedness and is good example for other institutes and researchers to follow

  4. The image that was shared may have been considered harsh but we need to look at things in a different manner. I too have gone through a bad experience with the police but that image should stand out as a wakeup call to all higher ups in the different city agencies. Stop target once race and let work together to make our city a great place to live, work, play and visit.

  5. I don’t think there is anything wrong with adding pictures to punctuate such an important issue. Although I didn’t die and I’m not black, I had an unfortunate run in with some very corrupt police officers that has left me traumatized and developed PTSD as a result. I have some very disturbing pictures I would love to send to you plus a police report that was so full of lies I cried when I read it. Would you like me to send you my story with pictures?

  6. I too feel that it was not your intention to bring any harm. I thankful for your research and graciously acknowledge your apology. Continue the good research you are doing and bringing to all the awareness of necessary police brutality to people of color.“`

  7. I, too, am deeply saddened by the ill treatment of people of color by many professions – healthcare, education, employment, and many more. Police officers who use unjust, racist-based tactics should be held accountable. They are not worthy of their calling. At this point in time in this nation, there is an implication that POLICE = KILLERS and that is also unjust, untrue and not helpful in healing this nation. So, please stop doing the 80% of the officers who wear the badge and start each day with the honest will to do good for their communities of all races, the injustice of POLICE = KILLERS. Call out the bad guys, improve how recruitment and hiring is done (weed out the bad ones to start with) and encourage the good guys to keep learning about what is just and fair for all and keep serving their communities in spite of the current hatred being spewed at police officers in general.

  8. I would appreciate a reference to NIMH research on Native Americans , particularly Native American women living on reservations and their treatment by adjoining authorities

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