Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue
On November 13, 2018 the American Public Health Association passed a statement naming police violence as a public health issue and recommending divestment from police and investment in community-based and community-led solutions. This is huge. See information below or click here for the full the statement:
Ways to reduce traumatic and harmful police interaction as well as incidents of police brutality towards marginalized folks and their community.
Reason #1 not to call the cops:
Don’t feel obligated to defend property—especially corporate “private” property. Before confronting someone or contacting police, ask yourself if anyone is being hurt or endangered by property theft or damage. If the answer “no,” then let it be.
Reason #2 to not call the cops:
If something of yours is stolen and you need to file a report for insurance or other purposes, consider going to the police station instead of bringing cops into your community. You may inadvertently be putting someone in your neighborhood at risk.
Reason #3 to not call the cops:
If you observe someone exhibiting behavior that seems odd, don’t assume they’re publicly intoxicated. Traumatic brain injury or a similar medical episode may be occurring. Ask if they are OK, if they have a medical condition, or if they need assistance.
Reason #4 to not call the cops:
If you see someone pulled over with car trouble, stop, ask if they need help or if you can call a tow truck for them. If the police come on the scene, they may give punishments/unnecessary tickets to people with car issues, target those without documentation, or worse.
Reason #5 to not call the cops:
Keep a contact list of community resources like suicide hotlines. When police are contacted to “manage” such situations, people with mental illness are sixteen times more likely to be killed by cops than those without mental health challenges.
Reason #6 to not call the cops:
Check your impulse to call the police on someone you believe looks or is acting “suspicious.” Is their race, gender, ethnicity, class, or housing situation influencing your choice? Such calls can be death sentences for many.
Reason #7 to not call the cops:
Teachers, coworkers, or organizers must avoid inviting police to classrooms, workplaces, and public spaces. Create a culture of taking care of each other, not putting people in harm’s way. Groups holding rally/demonstration: DON’T get permits or cooperate with police.
Inviting cops into spaces puts people at risk; perpetuates an unnecessary fear and trauma. Cooperation with and including them, gives them more power and control in our lives. If they really want to be about the community they’d initiate, non confrontational out of uniform interactions.