Monday, March 2, 2015

The death of "Africa" at the hands of the LAPD

Yesterday was the day of mourning for people with disabilities killed by their caregivers. I stood in the cold with a small group of people at the University of Chicago, candles mostly blown out by the wind, reading names. I noticed that some of the names included individuals killed by law enforcement, and while I think that's not the intent of the day, I mourn their deaths. We might still be standing their reading names if we had a master list of these kinds of cases.

We mourn. And we draw attention to their deaths as a way of remembering them and demanding no more. And then there are more. And we say stop. And the deaths do not stop. But neither do we. It was a hard night last night and a grim morning of writing, but thank you for reading, thank you for bearing witness, and thank you for continuing to say no more.

Here's one more:

"Africa," an African-American, unarmed, psychiatrically disabled, homeless man was killed by police in LA on Sunday. I have a piece filed on some of the issues raised by this killing. Note the intersection of factors - race, poverty, ability. Once the LAPD demanded compliance, a violent outcome was almost assured.

There's a graphic video posted below. It's awful and DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO WATCH IT.

What I will be writing about today are the moments before the shooting, before Africa is tackled, before he allegedly reached for a gun. He's unarmed and clearly in mental health crisis (perhaps triggered by the officers charging in on him). That's where our accountability efforts need to focus. Once we reach the trigger point, it's all too late.

Here's the video. Again, it's very disturbing. Be careful with yourself.

UPDATE: the original poster made his video private. Here's a link to a youtube video. Not embedding because I don't want it to autoplay for you.

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