Native Lives Matter
October 24, 2016 3:55 PM   Subscribe

The Police Killings No One Is Talking About. "Native Americans are being killed by police at a higher rate than any other group in the country - but these deaths are rarely covered in the media. Now, Native groups are organizing for justice in a growing Native Lives Matter movement." posted by homunculus (29 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite

This is horrible. We live in a police state.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:53 PM on October 24, 2016 [11 favorites]

posted by RolandOfEld at 4:56 PM on October 24, 2016

I can't help but notice that so many of these calls stem from incidents where policd came to help people in mental health crises and then shot first.

This is exactly why these sorts of calls should be handled by mental health professionals, and law enforcement needs to butt out of the picture.

You know the old remark "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" When you're a racist cop with no behavioral health training and a gun, everything looks like a crime that only a gun can stop.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:00 PM on October 24, 2016 [33 favorites]

posted by zachlipton at 5:02 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

That said, I absolutely do not blame Native family members for calling law enforcement. I blame the policies that shredded the social safety net such that there are so few mental health professionals who serve Native populations. Psychotic crises are nothing to take lightly. Wanting extra help for a person who's highly aggressive or delusional is eminently reasonable. It just sucks that cops are so often the "help" available.
posted by ActionPopulated at 5:09 PM on October 24, 2016 [9 favorites]

The Guardian has an interactive site.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:53 PM on October 24, 2016

"As funding for mental healthcare continues to plummet, police are increasingly the first responders to mental health crises that they are untrained for and ill-equipped to handle." Yes, exactly that.
posted by Bob Regular at 6:34 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle and Glock pistols, the officers quickly closed in on Riley—one moving down the sidewalk toward the van, the other two crossing the roadway. They shouted instructions at her—to walk toward them, show them her hands. Cursing them, she refused.

“Drop the knife!” they yelled, advancing, then opened fire.

They pumped two shots into her chest and another into her back as she fell to the pavement. Fifteen seconds had elapsed from the time they exited their vehicles.

Fifteen seconds.

You know, behind your tactical gear and your AR-15 or MP-5, HK etc, or whatever the fuck you're pointing (and please, gun nuts, don't go litigating what the weapon is - it doesn't matter), you can't take an extra five seconds to yell out "Hey! What's your name?" You, as law enforcement officials don't know how to create a perimeter and stand back? Then quit. You literally do not have neither the courage nor the brains to do the job.

But we know - with absolute certainty, in my country and in the US - that systemic racism against First Nations people is endemic and tolerated at the highest levels of policing:

During a previous interview with CBC Ottawa, [Ottawa Police Chief] Bordeleau stopped short of calling the comments racist and said racist officers were not working in the police service

Ottawa's police chief publicly said that even though an officer under his command made racist comments about an investigation into the death of Annie Pootoogook, they're keeping the cop in question on payroll (yeah, yeah, Police Act, blah blah) and more or less admitting - in the APTN interview above - that they would have overlooked it and just said "Eh, drunk Indian," (not his words, but) had it not been widely protested. And this is in the nation's capital city.

You know, I'd really like to see this guy calling for gutting law enforcement agencies when they do shit like this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:43 PM on October 24, 2016 [16 favorites]

During a previous interview with CBC Ottawa, [Ottawa Police Chief] Bordeleau stopped short of calling the comments racist and said racist officers were not working in the police service

Well, I am reassured now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:58 PM on October 24, 2016

American police simply cannot have access to guns. I think that has been very conclusively proven. I know this wouldn't solve all of the problems, but it would help a lot. SWAT teams still have to exist for emergencies, I guess, but short of that the police must be disarmed. We also, of course, need for police to be trained in de-escalation rather than escalation, but even more important than the training is that police CULTURE has to emphasize de-escalation. The culture between police officers is really important, and at the moment it is completely fucked up and horrifying.

I can see an argument for allowing them to keep really non-lethal weapons (including pepper spray, NOT including tasers), but they've shown pretty consistently that they can't really even be trusted not to do evil with those, as noted above.
posted by IAmUnaware at 7:04 PM on October 24, 2016 [10 favorites]

A decade of working in rural Alaska Native communities means I have seen this up close and personal over and over again. The trauma is endless.

Thanks for this post, homunculus.
posted by spitbull at 8:27 PM on October 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

UK police stop man with machete (not great quality bystander video) from the daily banter. (scroll to end of article for video)

The man clearly needs mental health assistance, and is restrained by a large number of officers.
posted by freethefeet at 11:35 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Guardian website wasn't so interactive for me. But. I was surprised to see Alaska at #2 and New York at #48 on per capita police kills. FACT CHECK would be nice.

Also TX, FL, SC, NC, MS, right smack in the middle.

Georgia appears to be the one of the safer states to go hands up don't shoot! They are only five slots behind Rhode Island.

Are there any pols campaigning this election with a platform plank of "oh, by the way, I am going to work on improving our measures on pointless police kills"? I could vote for that.
posted by bukvich at 12:05 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

need for police to be trained in de-escalation rather than escalation

I think about this Army recruitment ad every time I hear about someone being shot by American police.
posted by Leon at 2:07 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

American police simply cannot have access to guns. I think that has been very conclusively proven.

I wish our cops were unarmed, but it has not been proven that none of them can be trusted with guns. The Boston Police Department has a remarkable recent record of arresting armed (and unarmed) suspects without shooting them. At least one of those had actually shot a cop, but was still disarmed and arrested. Whether it's training or selective recruitment or whatever the BPD is doing, every other PD should be studying and imitating it. The BPD is not without problems, but for the last year or two, being trigger-happy is not one of them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:26 AM on October 25, 2016

During a previous interview with CBC Ottawa, [Ottawa Police Chief] Bordeleau stopped short of calling the comments racist and said racist officers were not working in the police service

Yup, Ottawa's police force is totally free from racism.

At least the officer who made the racist comments about Annie Pootoogook has now been charged with discreditable conduct. We'll see how that turns out.

But with comments like that, it's no wonder we have a problem with missing and murdered indigenous women in this country - law enforcement starts from a place of thinking that deaths are not even worth looking into and victim blaming. That is messed up.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:21 AM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Another thing this story has in common with Standing Rock is the almost complete lack of interest shown by the mainstream media. Josh Fox on Democracy Now:
...And I think, Amy, it speaks volumes to the work that you’ve been doing for decades, that it’s clear that the mainstream media will not report on Standing Rock, and they will not report on these pipeline battles. It is infuriating, and it is an abdication of duty to watch the Kardashians and other nonsense, which is called news, when we have revolts happening all across the United States of America, not just in Standing Rock, not just in North Dakota, but in New York state and in Florida and West Virginia and Seattle. And, you know, there is a very active movement against fossil fuels, because people don’t want fossil fuels anymore, and therefore they have to suppress the reporting on it. It makes me terrified for the future of our profession. We need to be able to operate as documentarians. We need to be able to operate as independent media that are allowed to bring these stories to the public. And it’s constitutionally protected. And we won’t rest. You know, we would never have been able to make How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, if this type of media repression was happening in other countries where we were reporting—in Africa, in China, in Peru, in Ecuador. This—I mean, you know, this cuts so deep to the heart of what we need to do to not only inspire people with stories about climate activists, but also just to make them aware of all the dangers of this fossil fuel expansion.
Fox in The Nation (Wayback link): The Arrest of Journalists and Filmmakers Covering the Dakota Pipeline Is a Threat to Democracy—and the Planet

Deia Schlosberg on Democracy Now: Meet the Journalist Facing 45 Years in Jail for Filming Tar Sands Pipeline Protest in North Dakota

DAPL and Standing Rock previously.
posted by homunculus at 2:27 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

[Couple comments deleted; even when your intentions are clear, we still ask folks not to use ironic racial slurs here. You can just make your point without them. Also, if you flag something, please don't immediately respond to it in the thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:37 PM on October 25, 2016

Thanks for keeping us up to date with this homunculus.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:43 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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