Public awareness of these frightening, horrific and uncalled for encounters with police by the differently abled, possible dementia cases, developmentally delayed and deaf persons really began on a national scale highlighting what happened to Marlene Pinnock, 51 at the time, allegedly stopped by California highway patrol for walking unsteadily and too close to busy freeway traffic; savage beating by patrol officer caught on passerby cellphone initiated when she purportedly would not comply with instruction to come with him, taken in for her own safety. Short while later released from mandatory psychiatric hospitalization, exhibiting no signs of cognitive impairment, dementia, mental instability, emotional distress, no evidence there had ever been such symptoms; making the officers claim seem bogusly made up, an excuse to beat her for non-compliance. Independent having broken no laws, not being found violating any city, county, municipality ordinances, sans having any outstanding warrants and no real danger to self or others, there was no legal obligation for that compliance. Next galvanized in an Indian grandfather visiting his son thrown to the ground and partially paralyzed owing to he fit descriptions reported to 9-1-1 of a suspicious person and didn’t speak English well; assault charges eventually dropped against said Alabama officer, him granted an acquittal after 15 months, 2 federal jury mistrials and the presiding judge’s ruling a 3rd trial would likely achieve identical results, prosecution lacking any further evidence; civil suit pending. It both follows and is followed by cases like an older homeless man in Florida harassed and assaulted by law enforcement for simply trying to use bus terminal public toilets, including an open handed slap loudly heard on captured cellphone video and literally shoving him into brick pavement, officer getting more belligerent than his ‘loitering perp’ swearing when the latter asked not to be touched, then roughly hauling him away. Officer immediately suspended with pay, within weeks charged on 2 counts battery, 1 count lying on his police report, pay subsequently revoked, relieved of duty until charges were resolved, ultimately found not guilty on all counts; apparently permanently dismissed from his department, though updated information is sketchy. Nothing seen as more despicable ordinarily than picking on the mentally ill, developmentally delayed; equally understood, challenges faced by officers dealing with mentally ill individuals in potentially dangerous situations. Yet that doesn’t explain how unarmed Ezell Ford, known throughout his neighborhood by everyone to be a bit slow, have mental health issues, ended up shot in the back, if he was such an overwhelming threat to police. Especially when they encountered Ford doing standard neighborhood patrol, deciding he was suspicious, for avoiding them and having his hands in his pockets, hiding behind cars present area wide when scrutinized; cops then chase and grab Ford, him grabbing back, wrestling match ensues, officer statements alleging Ford tried to pull one officer’s gun resulting in both officers firing their guns, one being a back-up weapon. Eye witnesses contradicting polices’ story saying he was shot while laying down, another claiming to have heard an officer shout “shoot him” before Ford was indeed shot 3 times; encompassing noted controversial single shot to his back, found to be at close range evidenced by its distinctive gun muzzle imprint on/in the wound. No discipline for involved officers based on Ford’s DNA found on the gun, scratches made to its holster; officers filing suit with the city of L.A. alleging racial discrimination as they are still on desk duty years later. Unexpected dangers encountered being a cop certainly doesn’t nullify hearing about the unnecessarily lethal outcome of a man, suspected schizophrenic and bipolar, whose mother called police during pre-dawn hours of one morning because his behavior increasingly scared her; when they arrived he began wielding a broom, standard household variety, and confrontation ended with him shot dead. Surpassing what threat Lavall Hall represented waving around a described old red broom with straws against cops carrying guns and perhaps tasers, is police weren’t unfamiliar with Hall, the home or family address; why, Hall was documented mentally ill, had been out of a psychiatric facility barely a week. In fact they had been to her home and escorted him to that mental health facility the week before, him having been properly released from in-patient care which is how he came to be back in his mother’s home. Worse his mother calling them believing, not that her son would be shot, arrested, manhandled, merely taken back to the previous facility, perhaps kept longer this time. No charges filed for single officer responsible, who despite “bleeding profusely” from the head, was quickly released from emergency, hospital care with a few stiches, chiefly because Hall cannot be seen on dash cam footage at the time he was fatally shot; civil suit ongoing as of February. Family lawyer’s hope, to see changes regarding how the mentally ill are treated; equally hoping law enforcement there will adopt the FBI’s standard system approaches when confronting, handling emotionally disturbed, mentally ill individuals. Those high on drugs representing a persistent problem for law enforcement, carrying the same unpredictability, penchant for possible public and officer injury, such as the woman who frantically dialed 9-11 driving on a highway in her car because her son was hallucinating, violent, threatening to both self as well as others after taking synthetic marijuana. Strangely 1:48 seconds into physical efforts on the part of officers to control him, restrain him he says ok, I quit; as in I give up, still tased another 4 minutes, tased a combined 15 times while police continue to yell stop fighting, stop fighting. Uncomprehending his continuing to twitch and move due to said taser being continuously or repeatedly activated, shooting huge voltage numbers into his body, confined space considering this took place in the back seats of his parents’ SUV, 3, 4 officers crowed into the vehicle, using restraint holds on a man 5 and a half to 6 feet tall, all arms and legs pressing him into the floorboard in a hogtied position. Taking on a clearly defensive posture trying to pull away from the pain both taser and discomfort of being contorted; scene personnel tasing him into unconsciousness. Only after he stopped moving completely did they notice he wasn’t breathing; her son ending up dead at that very scene, simultaneously an officer heard on body cam footage saying dude, I’m fired man, at another point high fiving fellow officers once he’s loaded into an awaiting ambulance. Worrying about your job not the 30 something year old person, who was conscious and physically well when you arrived, if not coherent, who is now not breathing, soon to be pronounced dead; story breaking May 20, 2016. Officers facing no suspensions, hailed to have done the right thing since Chase Sherman, death ruled a homicide by virtue of the number of taser activations and crushing weight compressing his torso, remains an identified perpetrator, not the victim, police officials naming officers and his parents victims of him having taken illegal/unregulated drugs. Overshadowing core issue of drugs doesn’t unravel what police were thinking handling transpired events unfolding in final video here, also surfacing this year, showing Virginia man Linwood Lambert in route to a local hospital for evaluation after responding officers found him in a trashed hotel room hallucinating and acting paranoid. Police recognizing he was either mentally unwell or high on substances, rightly electing to transport him to medical attention, not directly to jail; handcuffed for mutual safety but not under arrest, not charged with any crime. Things go wrong however at the hospital entrance area where he kicks out the police car’s window, begins running to escape police, making it to hospital doors, banging his shoulder into them before being tased repeatedly, falling to the ground, admitting to having done cocaine, asking why they were trying to kill him, complies with instructions to roll over, tells them as he moves he’s trying to roll over, remember he’s handcuffed. But instead of being escorted into the hospital for medical treatment, mental evaluation, given a room/bed in which to come down, sober up (medical version of the city/county drunk tank) they load him back into the car, tase him at least once more, upset he refuses to sit up, despite both hands and feet being bound, in route to the precinct; plan, book him for their car’s vandalism, Lambert having stopped breathing at some point during his ride. Prosecutor calling police actions incompetent and negligent still deciding against filing charges predominately because his cause of death is listed in autopsy documents as acute cocaine intoxication, not noted taser wounds implicating police conduct in his death. Nor did they show intent to commit felony level crimes, misconduct, civil suit proceeding as of May; heaping insult on the family, on senses of fairness, justice—officers having since been promoted. Though we had previously heard of officers dumping a disabled man from his wheelchair in Florida and select other cities, gaps between incidents pointed to them being isolated, misconduct surrounding one officer, not an epidemic, not a police culture phenomenon, little did we know. What we do know is there is a disturbing trend rapidly emerging in police interactions with the public leading to the most vulnerable losing their lives, sustaining life altering injuries, to say nothing of lingering psychological effects because police regularly mishandle, misconstrue situations. And unlike police targeting of black and brown persons, obviously racially motivated perceptions about what person X is doing on the street on any given day, these cases happen to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, class or social standing.
Ta-Nehisi Coats famously saying our problem wasn’t police, calling police reform a myth until we stop using them for everything, throwing up our hands saying criminal justice system you deal with this. Boldly concluding, “The problem of restoring police authority is not really a problem of police authority, but a problem of democratic authority. It is what happens when you decide to solve all your problems with a hammer. To ask, at this late date, why the police seem to have lost their minds is to ask why our hammers are so bad at installing air-conditioners;” framing I vehemently rejected in my counter response to his article as well as the death of Walter Scott, catalyst for both articles. Asserting all his examples weren’t places where police were incorrectly deployed, places that would have necessarily been better served by mental health professionals, addiction specialists, social workers or teachers, places that, by contrast, could easily turn violent, but places where police were exactly who belonged there because of behaviors exhibited, misdemeanor crimes committed thanks to his laundry list of secondary issues, social ills he detailed. Expounding it was what police did, once they got to a scene, making their actions right or wrong, good or ill in serving the grater goals, aspirations, functions of society. Chronology of police inexplicable, jaw dropping behavior culminating in footage of a black man lying on pavement, on his back, hands exaggeratedly up in the air announcing he is a behavioral therapist for a group home and the autistic man he is attempting to help, bring back to his care facility is merely holding a toy truck, only to be shot anyway. Even more astounding is why, both why police were called to the scene and why an officer took a shot at the man trying to help his developmentally challenged charge, how doing so got him shot in the hip. Thankfully he didn’t die and his chances for life-long complications are minimal; officers originally called about someone with a gun threatening to commit suicide. Ultimately the officer firing his wounding shot doing so because he thought said autistic man represented a threat to the prostrated man on the ground despite all you can see him doing in video is sitting cross legged, looking around similar to the way a child would look, playing with an object identified as a toy truck, clearly seen not to be a gun or a knife even if they couldn’t ascertain specifically what it was. Instead he shot persons he was trying to protect, shot fired partially due to confusing, conflicting information regarding what was actually happening on the side of that road, in that parking lot; audio revealing one officer thought, the autistic male 23, was loading up his ‘weapon,’ scene chaos and consequences resulting in the scene commander’s expedient firing compounded by fabricating his police report. But it’s not enough considering aftereffects felt by aforementioned autistic man who isn’t eating, isn’t sleeping, is having night terrors, plainly traumatized by events taking place that fateful day. Illustrating mine and others’ points perfectly, firstly this is how you show up to a possible suicide call, meaning someone threatening to commit suicide, with guns drawn, ready to fire on someone willing to end their own life, ready to fire on a good Samaritan already trying to help, you chance introducing something as loud and jarring as a gun shot into a tense situation where your subject can decide to take their life at any moment? These are police trained in de-escalation, crisis management, problem solving, given procedures for what to do during a whole host of situations; shooting officer uncovered as a member of the SWAT team, an advanced section of tactical police requiring additional training and the only thing you could think to do to ‘eliminate,’ neutralize the perceived threat of a potentially suicidal person against another is to shoot? Shooting so wildly you don’t hit anywhere close to what, where you were aiming; to quote Bill Maher referencing similar stories where cops fired a lot of times, expended a lot of bullets not hitting anything, their target, “spend some time at the range.” Secondly man on the ground does everything, and we mean everything, to keep it from becoming a shootout, people getting injured, killed; laying down, placing his hands palms up, arms out and open wide showing he had nothing in them, telling officers he is unarmed, telling them his profession directly relevant to why he was there and what was going on, telling his charge calmly that he needed to sit still, to please sit still, to lay on his stomach, lastly telling authorities what his charge had in his hand. Yes caller details described a person with a gun; however, you are being told by the guy on the ground, less than a foot away from it and the man holding it, it’s a toy truck, what reason would he have to lie? Group home also should tell officers you’re dealing either with troubled teens, developmental delays or specific disorders i.e. autism, changing their approach entirely; unless officers were brought in from a completely different city they should have been aware there is a group home in surrounding areas, probably having gotten calls about wandering, lost patients before. One released 9-1-1 call (unknown is if there was more than one) severely calls into question suppositions calculated by officers before arriving; because, in it the woman caller, broken English notwithstanding, plainly describes what each person is wearing, identifies Charles Kinsey, soon to be found out behavioral therapist, as trying to help the ‘Spanish’ man who looked like a young kid, she adds appears mentally sick and here’s the clincher, is unsure if what the kid is holding is a gun! Screaming arrogance, callousness and lack of care for differently abled persons in their community, they are charged with serving and serving adequately, police were offered training by group home staff to handle their residents properly, appropriately and non-violently, they declined; lager question, why was it ever optional as it probably didn’t come with a price tag, was intended to facilitate positive relationships between them and police? Again why was it ever optional, cognizant of within the last decade we’ve gone from 1 in 150, startling enough, to 1 in 88 to as little as 1 in 45 boys diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum, rising autism rates meaning sufferers are growing older and older, depending on assisted living, group home type settings. If nothing else, why weren’t police in the responding precinct, precincts for that group home mandated to have offered extended training (it’s doubtful the autistic man wandered that far from familiar surroundings particularly since home staff were able to find him absent aide from police), and see what happens when they don’t get that training? You know you have a problem when the person shot asks: why did you shoot me, and the trained officer’s response is I don’t know; not I wasn’t the one who shot you sir that was a different officer, moving on to are you hit, but I don’t know. Neither does ‘I was aiming to shoot the man with autism’ inspire confidence about police training or behavior, when to many of the public it doesn’t matter what he was doing you don’t shoot, take a chance of killing someone with such a profound delay; people justifiably incredulous, outraged to then further find out only parties with weapons where police, that what the man was holding was a toy, not even a toy gun, but a toy truck. Look at adjacent Nightline footage showing officers’ response to Jason Harrison a diagnosed bipolar schizophrenic, off his medication who comes to his door with a screw driver; officers bellow for him to drop said screw driver which he is holding not threatening anyone, not making any movements to suggest they, his mother, who called them, or the man himself, they were called to help, were in any immediate danger. 8 seconds after he came to the door responding to an announcement police were outside he lay dying in his mother’s driveway because he didn’t immediately drop the screw driver in his hand he was casually holding. Seriously, when again she alerted 9-1-1 dispatch they were coming to a call of a bipolar schizophrenic person off their medication, she asked for trained officers who knew what they were doing, you even see this yellow gun on the responding officer’s belt; likely a taser or a flair gun, taser much more plausible than a flair gun, problems housed in using tasers duly documented, why not try less lethal, non-lethal means to subdue, render safe a potentially combative individual? To Coats’ point, who was she supposed to call his therapist who doesn’t work weekends, isn’t on call after 5; under the Coats plan of making the world a better place, we’re supposed to work mental health personnel, case and social workers to death, uncaring about already high levels of burn out, workers who walk away from the job fed up with bureaucracy, astonished by man’s inhumanity unto man, frustrated by rules, regulations denying people needed care? Under Coats’ utopia a local crisis line would be perfect to dispatch, disregarding facts his mother was probably fully aware of and quite ordinary for mental health patients, he won’t respond to people who are not his normal doctor, counselor, case/social worker. Or was she supposed to call the police, who in turn were supposed to remit him to an emergency bed at the county, Medicaid accepting, no insurance required hospital, police who instead shot him immediately; now we see what The Young Turks Cenk Uygur is talking about, bad police training leaving officers panicking, nervous, reaching for their guns before anything else and helping personnel, mentally ill and developmentally delayed persons pay the ultimate, deadly price.
Mirrored in stories like our next one, police shoot deaf man who leads them on minutes’ long chase to his front door, then as he tries to use ASL (American Sign Language) to communicate is fired upon, killing him; that’s their story and they’re sticking to it in North Carolina where the young father’s family and community want answers. Daniel Harris’ alleged heinous crime, mandating he be shot dead in his own driveway feet from his home, failing to stop, be pulled over for a speeding ticket. Police electing to follow him on what is described as a long chase, (approximately 7 miles off an adjacent freeway) confronting him when he exited his vehicle; all indications pointing to his use of standard American Sign Language, hand gestures as a threat, possibly reaching for a weapon. Harris was in fact unarmed; eyewitnesses, family members immediately question whether Harris knew, saw police trying to pull him over, one saying in part he’s deaf and doubted he heard the sirens because he doesn’t hear anything. Victim’s brother stating, through an interpreter, police need more training for interacting with deaf, hard of hearing and hearing impaired persons, that had the officer known he was deaf, things would have turned out differently. Unknown is if officers tried to use a bull horn, turning their lights on and off to get his attention, as opposed to the familiar rotated flashing of those light-bars affixed to hoods on traditional police cars, important considering somewhat common knowledge flashing lights are adapted to phones, doorbells, smoke alarms to alert deaf persons to incoming calls, visitors, and fire providing another way to get his attention. Did the car that pulled over Daniel Harris have a routine bar of lights or was it newer configurations with flashing lights in a different place, similar to where they would be on police motor cycles, built into the headlights of an SUV type vehicle, making them less likely to be seen when you can’t hear. Did they pull up alongside his car, letting him see the lights, uniforms, motion for him to pull over, try to pass him, get in front of him, lights flashing, alerting him maybe cops need to talk to him, are trying to interact with him, before just following him? Being a cop, as trained as they seem to be to shoot at the slightest provocation, when he got out of the car, did you notice Mr. Officer he had nothing in his hands yet they were moving and not toward his pockets or waistband, behind his back, typical places for hidden weapons, causing you to think? For that matter, if he were truly evading you didn’t you find it peculiar he led you to his own front door, his own neighborhood, did you honestly think he, what, was going to run to a friend’s house and have them hide him, he was going run up in a strangers house and barricade himself in over a traffic fine, you didn’t wonder that he seems genuinely perplexed as to why you are there? By this time you were probably shouting orders for him to put his hands up, get down on the ground, answer your questions; did you not catch minor details e.g. he was dazed, confused, clearly not comprehending what you wanted from him, translating in your mind to he was either drunk or high, which would also explain the speeding. Indicating you should slow down, be patient, cautious yes, but defaulting to your gun, no? Did he at any time point to his ear trying to tell you he either couldn’t hear you, didn’t understand you, perhaps, though he appeared Caucasian, default assumption automatic US citizen, he doesn’t speak English? Educated guess no on every count because it never entered their mind the person driving could be deaf/hearing impaired, that hearing impaired people do drive; confusing, what they’re teaching in police training particularly for officers pulling over persons about traffic violations. Family hoping again to be instrumental in changing policy requiring one or all of several things to prevent negative, even fatal altercations between police and deaf people; such as an alert that pops up should an officer run license plates for a driver who is deaf. Wait, are you telling me, Americans it’s 2016 and we don’t have a police protocol for interacting with deaf people, we don’t already have an alert system for deaf drivers’ cars telling them in their DMV information, like what would come up when you run their plates, they are deaf, hard of hearing or hearing impaired, it’s not listed on their license similar to restrictions driver’s must wear glasses when operating their motor vehicle or only drive during day time hours, there’s no decal in the front and/or rear window announcing the person(s) driving have one of the aforementioned hearing deficits? We don’t make mandatory cards like the placard Inside Edition found in one man’s sun visor he can point to and point to his ear telling the officer he is deaf? Are you telling me, America we don’t have a set of guidelines given to deaf drivers, a section on drivers with disabilities in standard DMV booklets, varying slightly by state, telling driver’s how to handle being pulled over by police if they are deaf, in a modified vehicle, say hand controlled for para/quadriplegic drivers? Speaking of which, we do allow hand controlled, varying modified vehicles on roads nationwide giving people with a myriad of disabilities their independence, the ability to work, travel, yet we don’t have corresponding training, protocols for traffic stops, arrest of the differently abled, the deaf? Dripping sarcasm easily picked up, once more you know it’s bad when average, ordinary, everyday people can in minutes hatch solutions ignored, overlooked, discounted, discarded by local DMV’s, state or federal guidelines that would mean a safer driving experience for differently abled persons capable of achieving their driving license in all other facets. Example, just follow listed directions: HOW ABOUT A SIGN THAT CAN BE DISPLAYED IN THE BACK WINDOW OF THE VEHICLE, SIMILAR TO THE BABY ON BOARD SIGN, IN A BRIGHT ORANGE OR GREEN THAT USES LED LIGHTS AT NIGHT AND SAYS HEARING IMPAIRED DRIVER WITH A PICTURE OF AN 👂INSIDE A CIRCLE AND A SLASH MARK ACROSS THE 👂 FOR THOSE OFFICERS WHO CAN’T READ. Removing unknown variables, risky confrontation altogether, since it’s doubtful he maintained a high rate of speed, several miles over the limit, even 1 or 2 if he exited a freeway going home, why not use his license plate to find it’s registered owner, his/their address and send him the traffic ticket, a summons to appear in city/county/traffic court, because her tried to dodge the ticket; let them sort it out, make him attend traffic school, revoke, suspend his license? Unless he was, to quote the Jay Z song, doing 55 in a 54 and respect my authoritah, your inconvenience, filling city coffers with fine revenue was more important than the law, than objectives of traffic tickets, above all else keeping roads safe. Giving police the benefit of the doubt momentarily, glaring flaws in police training aside, being a person, a human being, a member of society, an individual having grown up in the world not a box, bubble, jar, odd isolation you are knowledgeable there are deaf people on the planet, residing in America, you know what ASL is even if by some strange coincidence you’ve never seen it, so why is it so hard to make the possible connection your gesticulating suspect is hearing impaired? On the off chance you grew up Amish, in an FLDS cult community cut off from outside world influences to later become a police officer all you had to do was see the Duracell add featuring deaf football player Derrick Coleman, watch your nightly national news and catch the deaf basketball phenome whose still in grade school and left his deaf team for a more competitive hearing one, the jazz singer who was slowly losing her hearing and after having lost it entirely is continuing to hit prefect notes. Likewise, mute people are also those who share society with you either via accident, developmental delay or specific disorders i.e. autism, and yes who do possess cognitive abilities enough to comprehend traffic laws, read road signs, pass a written and practical driving exam; to that end they too often use ASL to communicate their thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, answering questions presented them by police, other authority. Had Daniel Harris been an old, grey-headed, arthritic man, hearing aids visible hooked around his ear and saying huh?, would you still have shot him; percentages are high but not as high as for someone police have in their head is a fleeing criminal, is just belligerent, defiant, wasted on alcohol, substances. Except that’s the problem, deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, mute, unable to speak/understand English isn’t defiance, belligerence, combativeness, alcohol or substance abuse impairment and doesn’t deserve harsher treatment by law enforcement, let alone imprisonment or a death sentence.
Beyond the pallor attached to ideas exposed in the previous paragraph, police now shoot drunk or high people, those they merely suspect of being drunk or high, as they did with Daniel Harris, because they don’t want to deal with them, they are at fault, guilty, underserving of being treated like a human being, let alone a citizen, due to being drunk/high, are worthless drains on society due to their intoxication/addition, forfeit their rights by abusing alcohol, being addicted to drugs. Understanding that’s not how policing should go, officers are not to be judge, jury and executioner, drugs aren’t new, difficulties in handling persons high on an ever changing array of substances isn’t new; what is new is police impatience, defaulting to their guns in handling people obviously impaired, the social narrative resurfacing past ‘the war on drugs’ making that impairment why misdemeanor criminal X is dead during routine interactions with police, graduating to upstanding members of our citizenry. They tried it with Trayvon Martin making his suspension from school for a baggie containing weed residue and scant traces of marijuana in his system evidence he was a street thug on sizzurp, lean (cough syrup mixtures teens use to get high) who belonged in juvenile detention for alleged defacing of a school door, a screw driver in the hands of a kid known to tinker, thinking about engineering as a career, calling that a burglary tool and jewelry he told school authority was given to him by a friend, photographs sent to police yet never reported stolen; all to justify why George Zimmerman was right to shoot and kill him even though he wasn’t a stranger casing the neighborhood, did belong there walking back to his dad’s house, unarmed, exactly zero drugs on his person. Freddie Gray’s past criminal record centering around drugs became a focal point quickly ignoring police had no probable cause to stop him, question him, let along arrest him and haul him off in a police van; missing entirely he died as the result of a severed spine stemming from being dumped in that van handcuffed, legs later shackled, because he kept asking for medical help, tossed around absent being put in a basic seatbelt. Laquan McDonald had PCP in his system so that becomes the story not video of him walking away from police who thought he fit descriptions of a male braking into cars, or the lone officer who fired 16 shots into McDonald until his motionless corpse was smoking, other, dozens of officers called to the scene, firing none. When all he had was a knife feet away from officers; good enough for an indictment on multiple criminal charges, trial pending, that didn’t stop a preemptive settlement to Laquan’s family courtesy of the city of Chicago and Chicago PD. Police nationwide are also well aware of bath salts, flakka spice, K2; they’ve made news as a homeless man tried to eat another man’s face off under its influence, a collage kid gruesomely butchered a family and was found eating one victims face, police immediately performed a toxicology panel to see what he was on. Nevertheless Chase Sherman and Linwood Lambert are dead because both had a bad drug trip in the presence of law enforcement, also not new occurrences for police to come across; one continued to move trying to escape pain and discomfort from a taser, being cramped in a back floorboard, at one point sobbing. And the other, already observed to be paranoid, got scared, broke a car window and tried to escape into the hospital he was being escorted to, taser deployment making him think you were trying to kill him and he still follows instructions, but gets tasered again because he won’t (can’t) sit up trussed up like Sunday chicken, mainly because you are annoyed, he represents an inconvenience, more paper work you have to file. Because your authoritah is more important than police creed/motto to protect and serve even a drug addict who needs help above all else; remember the officer’s words to Linwood Lambert, comply or get hit again, Lambert who was handcuffed, limited in where he could go, Chase Sherman, who despite his altered state wasn’t getting out of his parents car for the sheer number of officers blocking that option. Heroin and opioid epidemics are known to be widely sweeping the country finally garnering deserved attention invading quiet suburbia; underlying reasons for compassion, treatment and advanced help for such addicts over others supersedes race, heroin cases largely effecting white, middle class kids, the fact officers can see their kids, their nieces, nephews, god-children, friends’ kids in these wayward youth who can’t seem to shake addition, no matter how many rehabs they attend. And going to they also comprehend many said opioid dependences destroying lives started as legitimate prescriptions for powerful painkillers spiraling down a vortex to addiction, heroin becoming a cheap substitute; cases have likewise come to light of unscrupulous doctors prescribing very addictive drugs almost too casually, Conrad Murry and Michael Jackson, Anna Nichole Smith and prescriptions she was taking filled out in her boyfriend’s name, Lisa Tseng and her landmark conviction in the death of 5 of her patients, sentence to 30 years to life behand bars, FDA regulation lightyears behind current events. Adding a 3rd layer to it all deaths of famous people like Prince, growing social sensitivity to chronic pain as a debilitating, immobilizing issue; what they fail to grasp is pain medicine including managing, alleviating chronic pain is essentially where it was in the 1800’s for a lack of studies on pain, medicines and techniques used to treat it. Utterly incongruent with Chase Sherman and Linwood Lambert’s outcomes, that they lost their lives; equally incongruent police behavior knowing an overwhelming number of illicit drug users and prescription abusers could be/often are self-medicating to cope with mental illness, undiagnosed, wrongly diagnosed mental illness, ineffective medications, lacking health insurance for better mental healthcare, how little insurance, when you do have it, will pay for some mental health treatments, repeatedly willing to pay for counseling or medication but not both. Knowing too prescription anti-anxiety, anti-depressants and sleep medicine are commonly everywhere and shocking incidents of sleep driving, sleep eating or airplane meltdowns, quit smoking aides like Chantix warn of unusual moods or thoughts of suicide, to stop taking and seek medical help if you experience either. Begging more questions such as you don’t think assessing the scene through that lens is a good idea, do you honestly think someone having a bad drug reaction to something, a new prescription legitimately given by an ethical, medical, CDC guidelines adhering doctor deserves the same fate, same dismissal by police as ‘useless,’ ‘denigrate’ drug addicts, to fall at the hands of your supposed to be non-lethal, less lethal taser because you’re sick of such calls, annoyed at addict weakness, you don’t care how much or how long your taser is activated, how it works because society is better off without these drains upon it. If you do you probably should reevaluate why you became a cop and via psychological testing should be deemed unfit to dawn a uniform. Lo and behold how many stories of those shot by police or frightened home owners began with car accidents; that’s how Renisha McBride ended up at Theodore Wafer’s door, why Jonathan Ferrell was banging on a woman’s door at 2AM, shot by police 10 times for acting erratically (accident disorientation). How many driving erratically, weaving all over the road stories have less to do with states who have legalized recreational pot and more to do with the person having a heart attack, seizure, medical event while driving, wife having a baby, husband trying to get to hospital, woman trying to drive herself while in labor; how many kids have grabbed the wheel because mom, dad, grandpa suddenly slumped over in the seat and the car stated veering off the road? Drug addicted, influenced and impaired people can be brought in alive, safely to either face trial for use, possession of illegal substances, criminal acts to support a habit, violence, vandalism, property damage committed in an altered state, or better still, receive help; we saw that when the DJ Avicii concert devolved into a bunch of molly hopped up kids too intoxicated to get into the venue who were then taken to Boston hospitals, none died unless it was from chosen drugs, despite one person it took 4 cops to subdue, as little as 2 years ago. Bath salts ‘excited delirium’ cases who were successfully apprehended alive and only suffering effect of the substances ingested do exist; as do K2 users rounded up by the cops, like the 30 odd zombie-like people wondering Brooklyn New York. What do you mean no suspensions, did the right thing, officers since promoted, not rotting in jail for disgracing a uniform symbolizing to protect and serve, others, not yourself; again to paraphrase Bill Maher, yes a dangerous job, a dangerous job you signed up for, you volunteered for, no one is conscripted into the police department. If we can bring in terror suspects who’ve set of bombs, plotted to kill people, usually lots of people other than themselves, we can bring in a hopped up drug addict period.
Pepper spraying an 84 year old grandmother, we can all agree on how over the top that is can’t we; especially when she’s not even the target of police investigation, arrest, when officers kicked in her door, the door to her rightful residence. Try telling that to Oklahoma police, heightened absurdity looking for a man who ran a stop sign, then fled police running into her home. Even if they thought his running a stop sign meant he was a wanted criminal on a much greater crime as opposed to he just didn’t see it, being black knows the reputation of police nationally, locally and doesn’t want to die tonight, even if they though he ran into her home looking to barricade himself, take hostages, which sounds like something out of an action movie, not reality, saw it as a rescue mission for home owner X. Since he didn’t either run out the back using her home as a barrier, diversion to flee police, you didn’t here panicked screaming from occupants, questions about who are you, it can then be reasonably assumed he lives there or is known and welcome by the people who live there; (a narrative given to the Washington Post saying they heard screaming and a female voice asking who are you, the other half of why the kicked in the door and began waving a taser, shouted at her to get down), though the home owner, rightful occupant told local news reporters she was initially asleep. Further isn’t it plausible Muskogee PD she began frightened screaming and asking who are you, to you, the police, as you bellowed for the perp you were looking for to come out— oh. But it’s not just those cataloged probable facts, most seemingly assumed by officers anyway; it’s police follow male subject X yelling for him, her son, to come out, a heartbeat later they’ve kicked in the door, see what looks like a minor child, officer shouting “come here I’m gunna tase you.” When he has his hands up, you can definitively see the only item in his hands is a smart phone; he says “I aint got nothing” and begins walking a bit sideways towards the officer to be randomly hit with his taser for no apparent reason and goes down hollering in pain. Meanwhile out comes mom, the home owner/renter, from around a corner officer bellowing “stay there ma’am;” 40 seconds later she is splayed full in the face causing her to fall, easily could have broken her hip in that exchange, easily could have blinded her at her age, still may mean vision loss, diminishment long term. Other, different angle, video shows an argument between lead officer and minor child trying to get him to come out, officer tasing him from the door way as he walked toward him per instructions. Lead officer advancing into the home yelling for a woman inside previously having shouted something unintelligible to get down, trying to push her to the floor as she tells them she’s 84 years old, man asking what he’s done, her asking the same question as she’s shouted at to stay there, to turn around, when she refuses to turn around having done nothing wrong and instead begins asking questions she is sprayed, goes down, hands roughly put behind her back while she’s saying oh lord, help me Jesus and groaning in pain. Because the lady didn’t turn around fast enough, a woman it’s conceivable may use a walker or wheelchair outside her home, because she didn’t freeze, stand still fast enough at 84, probably arthritic and wobbly, because she dared ask questions about what in the Sam Hill was going on, why there were a half a dozen officers in her home. She isn’t harboring him, hiding him from police she is asking questions and defending her property from people who haven’t made it clear why they are there. Off in a corner after sweeping the home do you then hear, rather than see, officers take him, the man they were searching for, into custody upset they are manhandling his 84 year old mother hints bleeped expletives. Listening to officer statements recorded on camera come here I’m gunna tase you, not come here or I’m gunna tase you but come here I’m gunna tase you; even a 4 year old can work out what tase means, derive context it’s some kind of punishment, spanking will stay put never mind tween or teen, or that he’s not who you’re looking for, is an innocent bystander in his likely grandmother’s house. And tase him, with his hands up and coming toward you when you just told him come here, for what, as some sort of revenge for having to come into his house, taken out on a child? Listening to his (their actual suspect’s) repeated questions about what did he do, versus the stereotyped I have rights, screaming police brutality, threatening a lawsuit on his behalf, did he know he ran a stop sign, did he know police were attempting to pull him over, or from his point of view, did he arrive home, to his destination, mom’s house, go inside to minutes, seconds later find police bellowing for him to come out for unknown reasons? From the woman’s side, you don’t hear concern for her, other occupants of this home asking do you know him, does he live here, speaking to a fear of home invasion, not once in all their shouting commands, in response to her refusal to turn around, ‘escalating’ belligerence, allegedly uncut video shows her saying “Get out of my god—face!” she yells at officers as she faces them near her front door. “I’m 84 years old, f——, don’t f— with me! I ain’t turning around for s—!,” did they tell this 84 year old woman we’re here to arrest him, pointing to the cuffed man on the ground, for running a stop sign, fleeing police. It surely would have elicited a different response, perhaps a defense of her son, yelling, mildly physically combative, but nothing you can’t handle without brute force. Proceeding to arrest her and charge her for resisting police; chargers dropped days later. Assuming police get it right in the first place which they always don’t; how many times have they gone to the wrong house for a drug raid, bounty hunters looking for a bail jumper accosted the Arizona police chief. In another case police got the wrong house answering a 9-1-1 call about a woman screaming; according to occupants police didn’t announce themselves, shone a light into the couples bedroom window, their dogs were ‘going crazy’, husband grabs gun, goes to open his garage to see what has his dogs upset, thinking potential intruder no doubt, is shot by cops. Or the man who calls 9-1-1 to report an attempted car-jacking, robbery against his wife, grabs his legal pistol to defend her, is shot by police mistaking him for the perp, despite giving a clear description. Pets caught in the crossfire is sadly something else not new, pit-bulls and Rottweilers, Doberman pinchers routinely used to guard drug stashes in homes, but when you shoot a husky puppy because you went to the wrong house answering a domestic disturbance call then leave the family holding a huge bill for a beloved animal who died; when you shoot the family dog inside of a fence saying private property-no trespassing attempting to serve a warrant on a 10 year old case, current home owners in residence 1 year then try to say their dog, Opie was vicious to cover yours and your officer’s behind. Back to traffic blunders and elderly citizens, they didn’t (get it right) in Victoria Texas circa 2014 when an officer pulled over, then tased a 76 year old man for a non-existent expired sticker violation accusing citizen X of getting nasty with him even though citizen X was driving a dealer car exempt from current inspection sticker statutes, realities he tried to point out to the then 23 year old officer fired early 2015, planning appeal. Only to be hired approximately 2 months later by a different police department; it’s the Tamir Rice shooters all over again and shortly after that shooting had taken place documents revealing the abysmal records of those officers. Prompting questions when will it become standard police procedure to check prior employment records, prior department records of incoming officers; statements signaling his new department was well aware of his past, next logical question is why would you want that on your team, are you so desperate for officers you need to take that baggage at possible expense of the public? Redundancy coating arguments here regarding 84 year old Geneva Smith’s son, what is the elevated urgency; true the woman’s son had a prior criminal record, most serious stuff dating back to 30 years ago, most recent charge 5 years old. Putting realities we are now confronted with into needed context, you don’t think that left him a lingering palpable fear of police, fear of returning to jail; being black, comprehending what we’ve been forced to about police, how credible is his prior record, how much of the book was thrown at him, were charges elevated because he was a minority black man even as soon as the 1980’s? And he was being taken in for running a stop light; simple start to a fix is to send him a hefty traffic fine, a court summons using the DMV registration accessed via his license plate, none of this breaking down doors extreme reaction for misdemeanor/traffic offenses stuff. Instead of treating a traffic violation the way a traffic violation should be treated, as serious yes but not mass murder, child sex abuse, human trafficking, felony theft, grand theft auto (not the video game), improper disposal or nuclear or industrial waste, things that could markedly endanger public health and safety, both police departments wasted time, resources and no shortage of paperwork processing an old lady for defending her home and an old man for trying to explain dealer plates to a rookie cop. Moreover, they do this, this representing normal police behavior, at a time where projected Alzheimer’s stats nearly parallel those of male children given an autism diagnosis, 10 and 20 year projections even more staggering, on top of an aging baby boomer population reaching 65 to 90 years old prime years for onset, suffering with Alzheimer’s, dementia, mental decline. People with above listed brain dysfunction known to swear, be belligerent out of fear and confusion, world making less and less sense to them, inability to recognize, friends, family, loved ones, Alzheimer’s best described not as forgetting where the key goes but forgetting what the key, keys in general are for; chances of encountering belligerence, combativeness and the opposite of cooperation multiplied exponentially when you bust in on an older person in the middle of the night, early morning, wake them out of a deep sleep, nap no matter the time of day. Secular Talk radio host making valid points, you had no way of knowing what medications she’s on, odds are longer you live the greater your chances of dealing with dementia in some form, potentially a majority of populations over age X, over medicated seniors happens more than you might think too, medication many times effecting cognitive function. He echoing weighty questions we should all be asking, is this how we want people treating our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, how we want to be treated ourselves in our older years?
Policing doesn’t have to be, shouldn’t be shoot first and ask questions later, nor does it have to be a constant nerve racking set of unknowns once you are on scene; how would outcomes have been drastically different if they had relied on basic training and common sense echoing one news anchor comment remarking, if you can’t see, how about going to get a pair of binoculars to concretely ascertain what was or wasn’t in the autistic man’s hand. Maybe just maybe if they hadn’t had so many cooks in the kitchen, as the saying goes, keeping in mind calls were about a possible man with a gun threatening suicide and another man attempting to help, they wouldn’t have had such conflicting information, could have heard what the coherent communicating man was trying to tell them. Hold any of our detailed incidents up against footage of an officer sitting with another autistic wanderer, talking to him, calming him, getting down on his level and waiting for his mother to arrive and take him home; stopping a gaggle of other officers trying to physically restrain him, autism sufferers notorious for not wanting to be touched, only touched by certain people. That video too going viral, showing it done right; when asked where he learned it he defaults to his years of experience interacting with people, resolving calls peacefully. How eerily familiar that fired commanding officer’s comments are to a 9-1-1 call placed from inside an Ohio Wal-Mart about a man waving a gun once described as reloading; except that was John Crawford III holding an airsoft gun he likely intended to purchase, sold in the store, killed by police based off bad information from a man who went around afterwards claiming to also be in the military discharged after 7 weeks for an undisclosed heart condition. Go back over the latter half of that Nightline video reporter shadowing San Antonio officers specializing in welfare checks and mental health calls, individuals taking time to talk with people, offer them help, transportation to help, only kicking in doors when they genuinely fear for the persons inside, not because they’ve lost patients with other tactics, want to get call X over with so they can go home. Memphis officers receiving similar training, also making a positive difference in their community, taking less mentally ill people to jail, resulting in less injuries to civilians on calls and predictably officers too, listening, acting from a place of compassion. Imagine what would have happen if police had calmly asked Jason Harrison to please put down his screw driver so that they could talk knowing they are safe, he is safe and his mother is safe instead of bellowing from him to drop the screw driver then shooting before he had a chance to even process what they asked him to do, forget why. Imagine what would have happened had officers known members of their community as well as residents knew each other in Ezell Ford’s neighborhood; where they could say oh that’s Ezell, he has autistic tendencies and you must be cautious approaching him, if they had asked him if he needed help, if they could take him home. Funny CRT (crisis intervention training) used to be, to general understanding, thought of as standard police work, police training; and it isn’t new, cutting edge or revolutionary, Memphis’s program in place for 27 years, should be in place nationwide. To San Antonio crisis specialized officers’ point remarking how much the police academy resembles boot camp, it shouldn’t resemble boot camp where we remove people’s ability to think and reason independently and replace it with the ability to take abuse and say yes sir, no sir; complex though shouldn’t be substituted for a rule book these now drones regularly show they can’t follow anyway. And we wonder what’s wrong with our military too, why Abu Ghraib, WikiLeaks and Bowe Bergdahl happen. Another reason police training shouldn’t resemble boot camp is giving officers the idea civilization, interacting with people on the street, where they will be, is anything like that; that people are going to snap to your orders as quickly as you did for your instructors because of the uniform, because of your badge or that they should. We live in a free country where people are not required to snap to or die, especially if they don’t understand what is happening, your instructions, not commands; people are allowed the dignity and seventy of themselves even when interacting with law enforcement. Daniel Harris would doubtlessly be alive if 2 things, we had a protocol for dealing with differently abled people on the part of police, if we had guidelines for differently abled drivers; if the decal would be offensive to some deaf people, show them news footage of Harris and guaranteed you change minds, absent that, then information in their reregistration, DMV information, a notation on their physical license telling officers they are deaf, a symbol, specialized license plate indicating hearing impairment similar to a handicapped plate allowing use of equally designated parking. Police protocol saying, you must flash your lights on and off, pull up alongside a driver, in front of them flashing your lights before writing them off as fleeing, evading, going into angry mode hunting them down. What if they had a special distinctive light used to attract the attention of deaf people, a distinctive pattern of flashing demonstrated to deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired drivers when they take their driving test, in DMV video materials, so when they see it they know to pull over; sell them a light to put on their car they can activate to communicate to officers they understand, are pulling over, will pull over at the next safe opportunity? Would it have been so hard to hand cuff a sobbing Chase Sherman while twitching and pull him out of that SUV floorboard instead of continuing to push your body weight, knees into him, making sure your taser is completely disengaged before shouting for him to stop fighting, placing him in a police car for transport either to a hospital or city jail dunk tank; rewind before any of that, did officers try talking to him, getting him to calm down before invading the small space of an overly excited person sitting in a car? No mystery what should have happened with Linwood Lambert, he should have been taken into the hospital, doctors informed her had admitted to cocaine use, he was tased and how many times, left to come down, sober up; then they could book him for their vandalized car, knowing where he would be for 8, 12, 24, up to 72 hours, leave instructions for hospital personnel to call them and they would pick him up, arrest him for police property damage. He would have been alive to appear in court, probably charged the cost of the window’s replacement; if the judge was smart, diversion to either drug treatment or mental health. Interesting too police forces who have competently dealt with decidedly more violent incidents, taken down decidedly more violent individuals, mentally unstable people alive and well to face charges, be remitted to mental health, again subtracting race since bad encounters for the differently abled transcend color, culture, ethnic lines. They guy who stripped off his clothes and tried to ram a stolen truck into a passenger jet, just this week last officers were intentionally run over by a man and they managed to take him into custody no shots fired, taser deployed only once, a man a New York was wielding an 11 inch meat cleaver again tased once, shot only after that didn’t work and was alive when he went to the hospital also representing a clear imminent threat, where none of these people truly were, most unarmed, wielding standard household items no match for guns or tasers. Right wing politicians, conservative advocates and known-name evangelical Christians making news talking about values forever spotlighting so called ghetto culture and fatherless children, left so by males unwilling to claim their children; spreading their seed and making babies without any thought to the consequences, or so goes the stereotype. Left fatherless by deplorable male choices for gangs, drugs, violence, unsuccessful career criminality leading to incarceration or so goes another intertwining stereotype. Well now we want to talk about the number of children left fatherless by police brutality, police carelessness and mistakes. John Crawford III had 2 small children, Akai Gurley had a 2 year old daughter, shot in a New York housing authority stairwell for want of decent lighting, Eric Garner had how many kids, Alton Sterling had at least one child whom we watched break down on national television while his family responded to his unexpected death, Philando Castile mentored kids at the school where he was a cafeteria supervisor known as Mr. Rogers with dreads, Daniel Harris was the father of one, Charles Kinsey was a father of 5 who almost didn’t make it home. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Tamir Rice, Tyree King never got the chance to make families, get married, have children; some weren’t old enough, hadn’t reached the point in their life to graduate high school or college, finish technical training in a trade. Not due to random street violence, accidents, their own reckless, bad choices, but police recklessness and bad choices, neighborhood watch wanna-bes and gung ho home defenders who own a gun, police disruption and destruction of lives trying to save one, over traffic fines.