“I remember once when I was about 14 I think, I was walking home from the corner store and from the corner of my eye I could see that a police car was slowly trailing me.” Said Giovanni Barajas, a resident in the Meadowview area of Sacramento. “I was just getting some snacks but I guess the police officer couldn’t accept the fact that a brown boy could’ve bought their own things.”
Barajas has been stopped by police many times before and he feels that it has greatly impacted his mental health growing up, especially when it comes to deciding if he should call 911 or not.
A new study by The University of Texas at San Antonio have shown that youths that have experienced intrusive police stops are at a higher risk of developing heightened post traumatic stress.
Specifically stops where police use harsh language, searches, racial slurs, or use of force. The researchers found that youth who were stopped more often would show symptoms of of emotional trauma. Many of youth have developed a negative perception of police which could also be harmful to a youths mental health.
Whenever I see a police officer, you’re suppose to feel safe right? But that doesn’t happen, it’s more like I feel stress and I become anxious,” said Barajas “I know that isn’t normal. At least it shouldn’t be.”