Police Violence and Disability

I co-write a new piece just published by The Atlantic on police violence and disability. My co-author is Lawrence Carter-Long, communications director for the National Council on Disability. I’m really honored to have worked with him and hope that more collaborations with the NCD follow.

There’s nothing surprising in this piece for readers of this blog, but for new people, I’ve been writing about Ethan Saylor for well over a year now, on the blog, in The Nation, for CNN, and beyond. My points are always these:

1) What happened to Ethan was wrong and was correctable with better training or, frankly, just a little common sense and patience.
2) Due to the nature of disability, it could happen to you or your loved ones too, even if you are not presently disabled.
3) Such incidents reflect a much bigger cultural problem – a focus on compliance over all other principles, including civil liberties. I call it the “Cult of Compliance.” This link is to one definition page but if you search the tag compliance, you’ll see lots more.

Please read the piece. Comment there or here (here if you want me to see it). I’m thrilled there was a Senate hearing, but we need to do much more.

6 Replies to “Police Violence and Disability”

  1. Extranjera says:

    I'm still stuck on the extent that 'relationship' and 'training' seem to be conflated, not necessarily in your article, but in the discussion at large and what that might result in as far as different stabs at training go. We've already seen one, at best a questionable at worst a further stigmatizing attempt at this in Frederick.


    1. Extranjera says:

      It seems to me lately that when there's official talk of 'creating relationships to LEAs' more often than not some sort of training is what is meant, often in ways that really only serve to set apart the population with I/DDs and/or MH issues as some sort of handily identifiable monolith to be dealt with in a certain way.It seems that inclusion in all its forms falls through the cracks (possibly because 'training about' can quickly negate potential for inclusion?). To me meaningful inclusion and building relationships are inseparable so I've been completely caught off guard when this all too often doesn't seem to be the case for many others. Sometimes this almost seems an extension of the awareness vs acceptance discussion.

      Does that do it?

      (Don't worry about quick replies, I'm still processing what I think i mean too.)

    2. David Perry says:

      That makes sense and I worry about that too. It's why in general I try to broaden the focus away from awareness of disability to rethinking police culture. Did you see that comment I posted in today's blog post about police being divorced in general from community? I think its really sharp.

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