A new study that highlights the troubling rate of police brutality in the United States concludes that Black children are six times more likely to be shot to death by law enforcement, compared to their white peers. The research, which was led by Children’s National Hospital and published in Pediatrics, looked at data from 2003 to 2018. According to the study, 6,512 adults were fatally shot by police during that period, but Black and Latinx adults had the highest mortality rates.

The average age of a person who died from police intervention during the studied timeframe was 16 years old and 93 percent of the victims were male, according to the report. The study also revealed that about 93 percent of the deceased were killed by firearms.

"The results are not surprising, but that doesn't take away from the tragedy of these results," lead researcher Dr. Monika K. Goyal told CNN. "When we see that this extends to children, it makes this issue even more tragic."

The researcher adds that the data may be "an underestimate of the true toll."

"This (rate) did not include children who were shot, but didn't die," Goyal said. "We had a sufficient enough sample size to show that there were large differences when we compared deaths of children due to police shootings between Black and white children and white to Hispanic children — we were appropriately powered. We would have seen those same results over a larger time period."

The longstanding issue of police brutality especially came to the forefront this year after the death of George Floyd, which sparked months of protests across the globe. Protesters were also still demanding justice for the other Black lives, who have perished in the past year due to police violence, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery

"Our country is truly reckoning with the differential use of police force in communities of color," Goyal said. "These disparities extend to youth, and my hope is that this data is a call to action to start engaging in that hard work to truly understand the policies that exacerbate these disparities."

In the past decade, America saw the tragic cases of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and many more Black children who died at the hands of police officers. 

“Any death of a child is devastating but when it is due to police violence, it leads to distrust in the system and undermines the primary mission to protect,” Goyal said in a statement. “The pattern of stark racial and ethnic disparities only adds to this tragedy, further oppressing and alienating communities of color. It’s important to investigate, identify and correct those policies and personnel that perpetuate and exacerbate these disparities.”

A report from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health earlier this year revealed that Black Americans are three times as likely to be killed by police, compared to white Americans. The study, which looked at 5,494 police-related deaths in the U.S. between 2013 and 2017, determined that racial disparities in police violence varied widely across the country. Chicago showed one of the highest rates of disparity, with Black people being 650 percent more likely to be killed by police than white residents.

Other reports highlight additional challenges disproportionately affecting Black children. Several studies, for example, have proven that Black children are more impacted by the coronavirus, compared to white children. One of those studies, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concludes that Black children are hospitalized due to the coronavirus at a rate of 10.5 per 100,000. The data shows a significantly lower rate for white children, who are hospitalized at a rate of 2.1 per 100,000.

Another study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America highlighted the mortality rate of Black newborns, who were three times as likely to die compared to white infants.