Alex Zielinski / ThinkProgress & TeleSUR – 2016-03-12 22:59:54
Half the Victims of Police Brutality
Are People With Disabilities, Study Finds
Alex Zielinski / ThinkProgress
(March 9, 2016) — Researchers have uncovered a commonly missing factor in police brutality stories: A victim’s disability. According to an in-depth study published this week by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a disabled advocacy group, up to half of all people killed by law enforcement are living with a disability.
This is the case for the majority of the high-profile incidents in the last few years, many of which have become the face of the Black Lives Matter movement, the study finds.
Freddie Gray was a victim of lead poisoning, which can cause developmental disabilities (a fear that’s become more widespread in the aftermath of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis). Sandra Bland had epilepsy, and being jailed without her medication may have unleashed depressive side effects some say lead to her alleged suicide. And officials claimed Eric Garner ‘”almost definitely . . . would not have died'” if he hadn’t suffered from serious obesity — seeming to blame Garner’s disability for his death.
The disabilities featured in these prominent cases, along with many others mentioned in the study, are not always detectable by law enforcement. But others, as with Brian Sterner, who was thrown from his wheelchair by police who though he was faking his disability, and a Houston double amputee shot for threatening an officer with a pen, are impossible to miss.
‘”Training is a necessary first step. Reforming the system follows closely behind,'” said Jay Ruderman, president of the foundation. ‘”The rights of people with disabilities must be respected just like any other American citizen.'”
However, researchers say the bigger problem lies in the hands of the reporters covering these cases. The way the media often relays this information limits the public’s comprehensive understanding of disability issues, which could inform necessary change in how law enforcement officials interact with people with disabilities.
The researchers reviewed thousands of media reports of disability and police use of force between 2013 and 2015, focusing on the coverage of eight prominent cases, to compile the study’s results.
‘”When reporters acknowledge the presence of disability in a use-of-force incident, they routinely deploy it to generate empathy (generally good) or pity (generally a mistake) for the victims of police violence,'” the report reads. ‘”The best reporting needs to look at all the ways in which police misunderstandings about disability — and the ways those misunderstandings intensify the likelihood of an encounter — turn violent.'”
People with disabilities who’ve rallied for recognition by presidential and congressional candidates this year have said that the overlap of police brutality and disability issues could give them a needed voice in the election process.
‘”Safe encounters with the police is a much more prominent issue now,'” said Andrew Pulrang, a member of the online disability rights campaign #cripthevote. ‘”A lot of people wounded by police have disabilities — it’s often part of the confusion that leads to police shooting them. Hopefully this focus can have more politicians thinking about police training.'”
Los Angeles Cops Killed
300% More Mentally Ill Suspects in 2015
LOS ANGELES (March 3, 2016) — A report by the los Angeles Police Department said its officers killed 38 people, the majority of them from minority groups in the city. The Los Angeles Police Department has had a 300 percent increase in shootings of suspects with known mental illnesses and a 60 percent increase in all shootings against suspects in 2015 according to a report released by the department.
The report, released Tuesday, said that 48 suspects were shot by police and 38 of them were killed by police fire. Of those 38, eight were Black and 22 were Lations.
The report, released Tuesday, said that 48 suspects were shot by police and 38 of them were killed by police fire. Of those 38, eight were Black and 22 were Lations. One third of all the ones killed were mentally ill. The city’s police seems to be more likely to shoot minorities. The Los Angeles Times said 9 percent of the city’s population are Black and 48 percent are Latino.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the report would help develop the department’s methods for preserving life. He said ‘”this report represents the LAPD’s steadfast commitment to providing detailed information on the Department’s uses of force.'”
Part of those effort is increasing the use of electric shock weapons known as Tasers, which are considered safe. The report says the LAPD has 3,305 Tasers and has requested funding for 4,400 more. However, those weapons could also be lethal in some cases.
The report comes as Los Angeles residents mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Charly ‘”Africa'” Keunang, a homeless man shot six times by police. Keunang had spent time in a mental institution.
According to Fusion website, a recent report said the mentally ill are 16 times more likely than their mentally well counterparts to be killed by police across the United States.
193 African-Americans Killed by Police in USA in Past 6 Months
Bianca Perez / TeleSUR English
WASHINGTON (October 20, 2015) — Despite increased public scrutiny, police brutality against African-Americans continues to be a pressing problem, with 193 deaths reported in the past six months. A panel organized by the Justice, Safety, and Jobs Campaign discussed solutions including firing corrupt police officers, community policing, and improved law enforcement training to prevent incidents. Baltimore was chosen for the pilot program.
A Short Film on Police Brutality
(October 28, 2013) â€“ Some 500 innocent Americans are murdered by police every year (USDOJ). 5,000 since 9/11, equal to the number of US soldiers lost in Iraq. In 1994, the US Government passed a law authorizing the Pentagon to donate surplus Cold War era military equipment to local police departments.
In the 20 years since, weaponry designed for use on a foreign battlefield, has been handed over for use on American streets…against American citizens. The ‘”War on Drugs'” and the ‘”War on Terror'” replaced the Cold War with billions in funding and dozens of laws geared towards this new ‘”war'” against its own citizens.
This militarization of the police force has created what is being called an ‘”epidemic of police brutality'” sweeping the nation.
No Justice No Peace: California’s Battle
Against Police Brutality & Racist Violence
Krissana Limlamai & Brett Huff / Liberation News
(October 19, 2013) — This film is an original Liberation News documentary about the struggle against police brutality and racist violence in California. The film is centered around the organizing efforts of more than 30 families of police brutality victims, who came together for a statewide march in Anaheim, CA, on July 21, 2013.
This was the one-year anniversary of the historic uprising against the Anaheim police after the killing of Manuel Diaz and a subsequent violent attack on neighbors who peacefully objected. It features footage from significant demonstrations leading up to July 21st, the organizing efforts of participants, and interviews with families, activists and leaders in the police brutality movement.
It also chronicles the reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict, which coincidentally was announced just a week prior to the march in Anaheim. Within the protests that followed the announcement, the film takes a look at the racist nature of the justice system and how the murder of Trayvon Martin is inextricably linked to the movement against police brutality.
More than 50 families of innocent people killed by police officers ended up joining the protest on July 21st, along with around 1000 supporters. This network of families, activists and organizations continues to grow as part of a nationwide movement against police brutality and racist violence.
For an in-depth look at the testimonies at the Anaheim Police Department on July 21, 2013 please check out this video.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.