Bank robbers and mental health patients receive the same police solutions: violence.
Daniel Prude’s 157-days old death at the hands of Rochester police officers, and the subsequent overdue and — for the moment — relatively lenient suspensions given to the cops involved, make me think about another way cities continue to set up Black folks and predator cops for failure.
I’ve said this countless ways on almost every digital channel I touch. I’ve even repeated words at times: Police officers are not hired to be diplomats who specialize in human nature, let alone act like mental health professionals.
But cops have guns. And handcuffs.
Flashlights, if they want to improvise.
And the most dangerous weapon of all: their own racist azz.
The kind of coast-to-coast racism that can all but ignore Confederate protesters but seem to orgasmically swarm peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters who are automatically deemed threats to White existence.
Put all those pieces together, and Daniel Prude — even while naked and unarmed when police officers engaged him on March 23 — became a headline that was waiting to be written.
Cops who refuse to act more diligent with their humanity can only view Black mental health patients like Daniel Prude as one thing: a problem in need of solutions within immediate reach like guns, batons, pepper spray, fists …
Lovely Warren, Mayor of Rochester, has acknowledged that her city’s mental health budget needs to expand — a move that deserves my head-nod.
Rochester purging itself of racist cops would also be a measure for consideration, but that moment may take a while — my mind goes back to the superpowers of those police unions.
But the next logical step is to limit mental health case failures by deploying community interventions that either limit the number of 911 calls, or dispatch properly-trained responders with a more expansive and creative set of tools than what race-guided weapons can ever become …
song currently stuck in my head: “dori” – billy childs
[Note: Daniel Prude sketch was sourced from an organizing flyer for a protest march held tonight in New York City.]