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Author: Raine    Date: 09/03/2020 13:00:39

Before I begin, I want to warn you, this article I will be linking to has graphic video. Last March, Rochester Police suffocated a Black man after putting a hood on his head.
“I placed a phone call for my brother to get help. Not for my brother to get lynched,” Prude’s brother, Joe Prude, said at a news conference. “How did you see him and not directly say, ‘The man is defenseless, buck naked on the ground. He’s cuffed up already. Come on.’ How many more brothers gotta die for society to understand that this needs to stop?”

The videos show Prude, who had taken off his clothes, complying when police ask him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Prude is agitated and shouting as he sits on the pavement in handcuffs for a few moments as a light snow falls. “Give me your gun, I need it,” he shouts.

Then, they put a white “spit hood” over his head, a device intended to protect officers from a detainee’s saliva. At the time, New York was in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prude demands they remove it.
Daniel Prude died March 30 after he was taken off life support, seven days after the encounter with police in Rochester.

This is a perfect example of how broken our system of policing is. We talk about Police Militarization an awful lot when discussing the idea of defunding the police. We should. It's a terrible authoritarian problem. But this wasn't the case here, with Mr. Prude.

As the saying goes, When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail. This wasn't about tanks or military surplus weapons being used on citizens. In this case, law enforcement was the hammer and an unwell person was the nail. He was killed because he was mentally unwell.

Police officers should not be involved with these types of cases. What needs to happen? Fund 911.
Emergency call takers also decide whether police should be sent into a given situation in the first place. Thus, as communities develop alternatives to traditional police response — as many cities are already doing — their role may evolve into that of a public safety quarterback who will be tasked with the all-important role of sending the correct First Responders.

Yet call takers are undertrained, underpaid, and underresourced. They are treated as though their role is no different from that of an administrative assistant. And they are ignored in most conversations about policing and criminal justice reform. That’s a shame given the essential role they play in our public safety system.

“911 call takers are gatekeepers not only for police but the entire criminal justice system,” says Neusteter. “We need to start treating them that way. We can’t solve any of our public safety problems without taking care of call takers.”


This sounds like a fairly innocuous system. But according to Jessica Gillooly, a former call taker and research fellow at the Policing Project at New York University Law School who studies the role of call taking in the criminal justice system, it has a glaring flaw. Call takers are trained and incentivized to think of minimizing potential safety risk to police officers as their highest priority. That means if a caller is uncertain or ambiguous — for instance, simultaneously speculating that the event unfolding could be either a man at a park with a gun (a potential violent threat) or a kid playing with a toy gun (a clearly innocuous act) — call takers are more likely to classify the incident as more serious to ensure officers are prepared for the worst-case scenario.
I'm not excusing police officers' wrongdoing. There is empirical evidence of anti-Black racial bias in police shootings. As was stated earlier in this article: What studies like this (and others) demonstrate is that when it comes to police violence and aggression, the officer-civilian interaction itself is only part of the story.

We have to rethink the entire idea of law enforcement. The police didn't need to handle this situation. He needed someone who was trained to deal with his situation. We need to hire and train 911 call takers so that they can distinguish incidents that require sending in police and those that don’t. That's going to require money, time and a conscious effort to change our system

RIP Mr. Perdue.


3 comments (Latest Comment: 09/03/2020 16:37:50 by livingonli)
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