The Sickle Cell Excuse

Sickle cell trait, which affects 1 in 13 Black Americans, is almost always benign.   
 
Those who have the trait have only 1 of the genes necessary for sickle cell disease, which can be life threatening.
 
Yet in the US, pathologists are alarmingly content to rule in-custody deaths of Black people as “accident or natural occurrences caused by sickle cell trait.”
 
Just how often? A New York Times investigation uncovered 47 instances in which the trait was invoked as a cause or significant factor in the deaths of Black Americans who died in custody. 15 of those deaths have occurred in the past 7 years.

The New York Times

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