George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, and we stand in unequivocal support of the protests and uprisings that have swept the US since that day, and against the unconscionable violence of the police and US state. We can’t continue with business as usual, which includes celebrating Pride. This week, Autostraddle is suspending our regular schedule to focus on content related to this struggle, the fight against white supremacy and the fight for Black lives and Black futures. Instead, we’re publishing and re-highlighting work by and for Black queer and trans folks speaking to their experiences living under white supremacy and the carceral state, and work calling white people to material action.
If you haven’t already read Police And Prison Abolition 101: A Syllabus And FAQ, start there.
Excessive force is the most frequently investigated complaint against police. Cops in the US murder over 1,000 people annually and assault, harass, profile, surveil and lock up hundreds of thousands more. Black people are two-and-a-half times as likely as white people to be killed by the police in the US, despite only making up 13 percent of the population. White people in the US are uniquely indoctrinated into the fantasy that cops protect “good people” from “the bad guys,” when in reality, police are perpetrators and cosigners of mass murder, facilitators of mass incarceration and protectors of state capital whose goal is to produce and maintain inequalities.
Countless calls for help have ended in death. In 2015, Michael Noel’s mother called police to ask for help taking her son to the hospital. Noel, a 32-year-old Black man, was experiencing a mental health crisis when police claimed he resisted arrest. Sgt. Pittard Chapman shot Noel in the chest and killed him. In 2019, Atatiana Jefferson’s neighbor called a non-emergency police number because they were concerned that Jefferson’s door had been open all night. Moments after arriving at Jefferson’s apartment, a cop shot and killed the 28-year-old Black woman through her own bedroom window.
If we want to move towards a police-free, abolitionist future, we have to do everything we can create an abolitionist reality right now. People of color have always been doing this work, and Black women have been leading the charge. Early Black Panther Party member and radical activist Angela Davis coined the term “prison industrial complex” (PIC) to describe “the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.” This definition comes from Critical Resistance, the abolitionist group that Davis co-founded in 1997 to shrink forms of state control and bring power back to communities. Critical Resistance served as a model for other abolitionist groups like INCITE!, a network founded in 2000 by radical feminists of color to address violence against women without police intervention. In 2009 Mariame Kaba founded Project NIA, which aims to end youth incarceration by offering community-based alternatives to the criminal legal process. These are only a few examples of organizations envisioning a police-free world, but you can find evidence of abolitionist practices in any community threatened by police violence.
White people in particular, it’s on us to catch up. We need to interrogate our reliance on cops, imagine a world without them and commit to never calling the cops again.
Do you foresee a potentially dangerous situation in which you or someone else would normally call the cops? Take steps to stop violence before it starts and prepare yourself to manage challenges that arise. Make a list of local hotlines and services you can call instead of calling police. Create a network of friends and neighbors you can call for support during a crisis. Seek out POC-led groups that will train you in first aid, crisis de-escalation and transformative justice. The “Safer Party Toolkit” created by the Audre Lorde Project, the Safe OUTSide the System Collective and the Safe Neighborhood Campaign lays out clear steps for preventing and de-escalating violence at large gatherings.
Is the situation you’ve encountered truly “unsafe?” A houseless person sleeping on your front stoop is not affecting your safety. Your neighbor’s loud conversation is not affecting your safety. Your perception of the “suspicious” activity around the corner is likely based on your internalized bias. Are you truly “unsafe” or are you just inconvenienced?
Calling the cops out of concern for someone else can make their unsafe situation even more dangerous. If you hear a domestic dispute next door, is there another way you can address the situation? In an ACLU survey, most domestic violence survivors reported that police involvement made their situation worse, and the mandatory arrest laws in most states mean that the survivor is often taken into police custody instead of or alongside the person causing harm. If you knew all of your neighbors and were friendly with them, would you feel more comfortable knocking on their door and asking if they need to stay at your place? Committing to your community and being an active part of it keeps everyone safer.
If someone smashes your car window, takes your bike, steals from your home or otherwise damages your property, you will shoulder a financial burden, and you might feel scared or violated. Before you cling to the white knee-jerk reaction of calling the cops, consider that when you file a report with police, you’re prioritizing your items over human life. The Unitarian Universalist Association created this helpful list of ways you can recover lost property without bringing police into your neighborhood.
Handle the situation on your own.
White people in particular are trained to call the cops as the sole means of handling any difficult situation. I promise you can be more creative than that. If your neighbor is hosting a loud party at 3AM, do you feel comfortable knocking on their door and speaking to them directly? Are you familiar with techniques that will help you de-escalate a verbal confrontation in your workplace? Can you ask the person with the aggressive dog to keep her pet leashed around your kids? If there’s a recurring problem in your neighborhood, could you get in touch with your neighbors and ask if it’s bothering them as well, and if all of you can work together on a plan to address it? A kind request is always a better first step than calling the police, whose presence can escalate a minor conflict.
Get support from a friend or neighbor.
Would you feel safer handling this situation with support from another person or a group? Do you have friends with specific skills that they could lend to this situation? If you don’t already know your neighbors or have a mutual support network of nearby friends, define your pod. Pod-mapping, a technique developed by the disability justice movement, helps us organize the dependable individuals in our lives. Use this worksheet from the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective to create your pod and have a plan in place for times of crisis.
Seek help from a designated mediator or mediation program.
If you’re dealing with an interpersonal conflict, your city might already have a meditation program that can provide support (like Community Mediation DC, which helps folks navigate interpersonal conflicts, neighborhood disputes, workplace conflicts and more). If not, INCITE! collected this list of resources for addressing harmful behaviors on a community level. Look into whether there are organizations or groups that offer transformative justice actions or train others in them. The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, outlines police-free strategies for confronting interpersonal violence that are effective both within and outside of social justice circles.
Seek help from a crisis intervention specialist.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, be aware that calling the cops often escalates the situation at best, and can put your friend at risk of physical harm at worst. Police are not adequately trained (and are often not trained at all) on mental health crises, and people with mental illness are 16 times more likely to be murdered in a police encounter than other civilians stopped by cops. Some cities offer mental health first responder teams (like CAHOOTS in Eugene, OR) and trainings in crisis intervention. Be aware that crisis hotlines can employ non-consensual “active rescue,” which involves police, if a caller seems to be in immediate danger. TransLifeline, a hotline by and for trans people in crisis, is the only crisis hotline committed to never calling police.
These suggestions only scratch the surface. If you want to learn more about abolition and policing alternatives, visit Transform Harm, a resource hub dedicated to fostering abolitionist practices, or check out any of these resources on community safety and protection without police.
Does anyone have thoughts on constructive ways to respond to people in LGBT groups who want cops at Pride because they’re afraid of homophobic attacks?
Here’s a great op-ed on that subject from Teen Vogue: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/why-police-arent-welcome-at-pride
Thanks for the link, Malic. I should have clarified that these are people who already agree that there is a long history of police abuse towards the LGBT community, but they are concerned about how to people safe from potential homophobic abuse/attacks at Pride events without cops present.
*how to keep
It’s important for those folks to know that when they’re inviting police into pride, they are prioritizing the lives of white cis participants over the lives of POC and trans participants. They’re also disrespecting pride itself, which originated as a protest against police.
I think the “Safer Party Toolkit” linked in this post has some good ways to address that—imo Pride events should have alternative community-based plans to address safety, just ones that exclude the police.
Thank you both, these were helpful points in formulating my response. I somehow missed that link in my first read.
Another point I brought up (in case anyone encounters similar hesitation) is that Pride is a protest, and a protest is by definition an act of taking a stand in opposition to a threat, despite the risks of doing so. We can act out of fear (protecting only cis white queers) or out of love (creating a space where all members of our community feel welcome and safe).
Never assume that police will actually protect us from homophobic attacks. Last year bigots attacked a Pride parade in Hamilton, Ontario, and police did nothing to protect them.
Hire a biker gang? Many are smaller clubs who are willing to hire themselves out as human body armor. There\’s one locally whose members volunteer to accompany abused children to court, and, IIRC a national one that volunteers to protect abortion clinics. One of my friends in the LGBT community is a doctor and she puts on body armor and a helmet with a group of others to make a human shield for some events.
Absolutely loving this content. Thank you
Yeah, “be someone your neighbors would like” is fantastic advice. And I’m sure that remains foolproof even for people who happen to be something their neighbors categorically dislike, such as, say… queer people, or racial minorities.
Some calls to the police are absolutely frivolous and it should definitely be something that only gets done in actual genuine emergencies (and even then, only for some of them), but it’s kind of incredible seeing “rely on being someone who nobody nearby would ever happen to irrationally dislike or be bigoted against” uncritically presented as the obvious solution on an LGBT site. Never woulda thought of that one on my own!
While “be friendly with neighbors” is one, valid solution, it’s clearly not being proposed as the only solution. If you’re concerned that your neighbors won’t help you because of their biases, how are your local police going to be any different?
Some of these actions are steps towards a police-free future, but there are also several resources linked here that suggest alternatives to the police that you could utilize today.
For context, I have lived in approx. 50% Black neighborhoods in a mid-sized midwestern city (think- Louisville, St. Louis, Columbus, Indianapolis) since the time many of your readers were born. And two of the places I lived, for 6 years and 10 years, so I got to know the neighbors, had dealers on the block. When you live there that long, things feel VERY different from what I think many of my friends who live in white suburbs experience.
Neighbors definitely kept an eye on the neighbors who were dealers, without calling the cops (although the one time something REALLY violent and terrifying happened, we did call). We all knew who did it. We knew when they were in and out of jail. The person who housed the dealers was friendly with everyone- everyone knew her. I dropped off food when she was sick.
When one teenaged neighbor stole my other neighbor’s laptop, he found out who it was and talked to his mama. Another kid stole my bike and we got a tip from another neighbor and found it at the basketball court and just took it back and told him not to steal.
There’s part of it that’s hard to explain when you don’t live it. Frankly, with two very young kids I’m glad we moved to a neighborhood with less dealing and breakins (still integrated, still 50% Black- this was important to me, since many neighborhoods in my city are not functionally integrated to this day). I knew the dealer neighbors really well and my kids played with their kids, BUT it was always in the back of my mind that someone would get mad and come around with a gun someday.
But the tools we had to keep an eye on things aren’t there in my new middle class neighborhood. People aren’t all up in each others’ business like they were in the rougher neighborhood. It just doesn’t work the same. Like, if someone comes around breaking in, I’m not going to call around asking whose kid did it. I have no clue where to start, or how to react. I think a lot of this advice is good but the context is key.
Yeah, the contextual differences are huge and go beyond the just straddling differences of class and race. There was a spate of robberies in my mother’s neighbourhood (very class mixed – two million dollar homes and provincial housing on the same street) about ten years ago. Most of the older people in the neighbourhood knew where the thefts came from, but so few of them spoke the same language as either those kids’ families or had good enough English to file with the authorities that nothing could properly be done either by talking to the families or calling law enforcement.
One family did ultimately call the police (and incidentally did get their stuff – family jewellery – back) and I don’t think it was a coincidence that while that family isn’t white and wasn’t upper middle class (working class Indo-Kenyans, if it matters), they were English-speaking. So that definitely says something about another element of access issues both within the community and with authorities.
@jlnl Definitely. My personal understanding is really limited to the environment where I’ve lived all my life. Whenever something happens in a similar city, I fully understand the context. Like Ferguson — there is a neighborhood with almost the EXACT same demographics and history in my city. So I get these situations. But I have barely any exposure to an understanding of that level of language and cultural barrier. Even with immigrant-heavy neighborhoods here, they almost exclusively speak Spanish, so there are a handful of institutional tools for understanding and bridging the barrier. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with that.
I’m a tad bit stunned reading this, I must admit. I know I’m in the extreme minority, but I wanted to add another view to the conversation.
I’m not white but my experiences may have shakes how I view the world. I know this isn’t literally saying all white people do X and Black people do Z because that would be a ridiculous generalization. If I feel my safety is threatened (and I would for many of the examples you gave), I would likely call the cops once I worked up the nerve to do so.
Maybe I lack empathy, but I can say I completely value my things over the life of some random criminal who steals them.
Yes, you lack empathy. I’m genuinely struggling to comprehend prioritising my material possessions over the life of a single person, even someone who’s done something wrong. Think a little about the dehumanisation of the term “random criminal”.
“If I feel my safety is threatened (and I would for many of the examples you gave), I would likely call the cops once I worked up the nerve to do so.”
Why would you call the cops? Why would you feel your safety was being threatened?
I understand your struggle, as I struggle to comprehend your point of view as well. It’s fascinating the different ways people can view the world! I don’t feel obligated to humanize someone who intentionally wronged me. I’m not talking about a co-worker taking a piece of gum off my desk, I’m talking about an actual robbery that I would want to have actual consequences.
I’ve thankfully never had to call the cops in my life, but I’m definitely not the person to handle a situation on my own either as this article proposes as a possible solution. I would call the cops for all of the situations mentioned aside from domestic violence (as I agree, that would likely make things worse for the victim) and a loud conversation.
Chenell, you don’t need to humanize them, just don’t put them in danger if you can avoid it.
I would also call the police for some of these (like if I was threatened with violence), but wishing someone dead for stealing from you is… a bit hard to swallow.
Thank you for expressing a different opinion
I’m really saddened by this response. I hope you’ll do more education on the history and role if policing in the US (hint, slave patrols still functioning as slave patrols, for one). Andrea Ritchie’s “Invisible No More” and Mariame Kaba’s work have totally changed me and highly recommend them. Kaba has a site called Transform Harm that has a ton of resources on alternatives for holding accountable someone who does harm.
Our house was broken into and robbed a few years ago. We were not home, and With deep anguish we called the police because no other alternative that we knew of existed to see if our home was safe to enter. Given the violent history of police where we lived my latina partner was also terrified they would think she was the criminal. Involving the police did nothing to resolve the robbery, did nothing to resolve our sense of violation (ritual and community did that) or to re-create a sense of safety (ritual and community did that too). And to this day i live with the anguish of knowing that call likely increased police presence in that neighborhood and thus the harassment of the brown, immigrant, and working class folks who live there. There has to be a better way.
There has to be a way of addressing harm that does not rely on basically what is an executionary force whose violence serves to reinforce white supremacy. Policing didn’t resolve our robbery. It certainly doesn’t do anything to address the robbery of billionaires getting richer while so many are suffering through this pandemic (just one example). Transformative justice’s principles of getting to the root cause gives me some hope about that.
I really hope you’ll rethink your position that objects are more important than lives.
I will definitely look into the works you’ve recommended! Over the past week, I’ve seen so many people that I respect and agree with on pretty much everything else share this viewpoint.
I’m certainly willing to change mine if presented with information that eases my concerns.
i’m not sure this comes down to empathy, at least not singularly. it’s possible to have experiences and values that inform differing opinions about actions/consequences.
even so, might be worth it to consider that if you don’t acknowledge the harm calling the police might have on marginalized members of your community, why should someone who must resort to theft for income acknowledge your property rights? i hear folks -almost always white- say people who steal are just criminals. they are comfortable when the consequences apply to those who are poor or have brown skin, but do nothing when corporations/rich folks loot pension funds and home equity from regular people, or break minimum wage laws to funnel untold wealth up the economic scale.
it’s easy to feel resigned about the system and accountability, but if you aren’t voting all the way down the ballot, or contacting local, state, and federal representatives about issues that contribute to wealth disparity, or vocal about how oppression and privilege consolidate resources, then you are participating in the inequality that results. so you* should assume that folks left behind will have to work outside the system to meet their basic needs and that might affect you.
(*this is a general ‘you’; i’m not assuming you specifically don’t vote thoroughly, access your elected representation, or counter misinformation about wealth inequality. just noting a cycle that pits regular people against their own interests.)
also, the quote above (“the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.”) really struck me. arresting people to fill private prisons is an obvious example, though i hadn’t really thought alot about how community resources get usurped for law enforcement on smaller levels. certainly thinking it through now.
This is more specifically about prisons than about the police, but I think it’s an enlightening read: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/magazine/prison-abolition-ruth-wilson-gilmore.html
Also, the idea of a “random criminal” is a really racially charged/racist way of viewing someone, because the category of “criminal” is, in the US, often reserved for black or brown people. And we know that the cops aren’t good at distinguishing between black or brown people — it’s not just the life of a “random criminal” you’re endangering but anyone else who happens to share their race or ethnicity (like Ahmaud Arbery. I really encourage you to read about police/prison abolition and interrogate your sense of what “safety” means and the consequences it causes to others!
I agree with completely revamping how we use law enforcement (I’m in Canada, and we have yet another story of a mentally ill Indigenous woman being killed by police in the news today), but the idea that a random criminal is implicitly Black/Brown and where the assumption is that people who care about items are both white and financially able to handle the loss is just not reality.
Life is worth more than property, yes. Calling the police disproportionately endangers Black and Indigenous lives, yes. But many thefts involve people of the same ethnic and class background, and some thefts take items that are irreplaceable.
I just mentioned elsewhere my experience of a string of neighbourhood thefts, and incidentally in that case the victims were racially profiled by the thieves (every single house that was robbed was either South Asian or Mediterranean, in a neighbourhood that’s mostly East Asian), and most of what was taken in almost every case was jewellery that people had out for wedding season. Eventually one family did call the police (that people didn’t originally had more to do with language barriers than general distrust of law enforcement), and as it turned out, the thieves were not of a significantly different ethnicity as the victims. And regardless of that, the idea that people who want to get back their great-grandmother’s wedding jewellery place more value on stuff over people;s lives seems like it’s making some wild assumptions about things.
And yes, not every theft involves stealing what’s often the only heirlooms people take with them when them immigrate, I appreciate that. And yes, a rich person calling the police because someone stole a five dollar bill out of their car is doing something gross. But a broad generalization that assumes that everyone who has something stolen shouldn’t care, and more than that can absorb the cost seems like it’s missing a lot of additional levels of social dynamics.
I’m not an American, and I agree that a lot of people in many countries call the cops for basically no reason at all. If you are not being threatened, then don’t.
That vid of that white woman in NY calling 911 because a black man told her to leash her dogs was eye-opening to many, I’m sure. Stuff like that happens way too often.
BUT, I grew up poor and in a violent family, and I wish, wish, wish that someone had called the cops on us. Because they should have. Then again, most of our neighbours were not white, and it’s most likely they didn’t feel they could trust the cops at all. I can hardly blame them.
But honestly, when you do not have this handy network of friends nearby, when you’re not a big burly man, when you hear someone screaming like they are being murdered, and you hear furniture and stuff being smashed and kids crying, please, what the hell do you do? Me, I call the cops, just like I wish they had been called for me.
This is why blanket statements like “never call cops” bug me, as much as they do the other way round. No, cops are not all about helping people, and no, you can be perfectly innocent and still be targeted by cops if they don’t like the look of you. And frankly, a lot of them act like thugs, like their own kind of protection gang, even in places where they’re not ~quite so obviously racist as in the US.
But when someone is out of control, and dangerous, there needs to be a better solution than “be a nice neighbour”.
I’m absolutely fine with the broader point here about “don’t call the cops for trivial reasons”, “cops are dangerous”, “here is a list of alternatives”.
But I find the headline of “~never call a cop again”… a problem. For those of us who have experienced serious violence in our lives, and those who do now. And yes, fully acknowledging that cops themselves are perpetrators of so much violence in so many places. I’ve been on the receiving end of that as well. Although, obviously, I haven’t been murdered by one, nor has anyone I know – there’s privilege.
But I do know more than one person who has been murdered in a “domestic dispute”, so there are no easy, pat answers here.
So so grateful for this post! Thank you! This is such important work, we have to keep pushing ourselves on this.
Thank you so much for this Malic!
Thank you so much for providing these resources. It seems like in my city, people call the cops so often (either 911 or the non-emergency number) out of fear and anger, but bringing the police into the situation makes it worse – it creates MORE anger and MORE fear. I want to start having those conversations with my neighbors about how we can avoid calling the police. I think I need to research resources for how to convince people who are firmly on the side of calling the cops for anything and everything to even consider the idea that the police do not make us safer…it’s going to require a complete rethinking because many people here think that the answer to any problem is “hire more cops” or “add more patrols”.
hi, i have a couple resources that may help! i think planning on how to have those conversations s so important and i’m grateful you’re trying to take action!
this is a story about how stopping “proactive policement” (aka racial harrassment) actually led to a decrease in major crimes — constant police presence doesn’t make neighborhoods safer, it actually makes them less safe. nature the science journal published this article!
https://www.azmirror.com/2019/05/28/public-safety-means-more-than-just-hiring-more-police/ here is an article (by a police officer) against hiring more police and outlining some alternatives!
https://ia800800.us.archive.org/1/items/12ThingsToDoInsteadOfCallingTheCops/12things-screen.pdf here’s a really helpful zine i found!!
There are so many of these I don’t even think you can call the police about here in Sweden (or they’ll redirect you if you do), so I’m amazed it’s considered police business at all – and that there aren’t more widely known alternatives. I cant commit to “never calling the police again”, but it seems most things people call the police for are absolutely not necessary to involved them in! And some I didn’t know there were alternatives for (at least in the US)
I don’t agree with some of these items. If a home invader were to break into my home am I supposed prioritize the invaders safety over my own? I think a more appropriate solution is properly train law enforcement on deescalation techniques and more rigorous training and screening for applicants.
I think a lot of the resources I’ve seen don’t address acute dangerous situations. I wrote above about my experience living somewhere where people almost never called the cops. We did do it once when someone was actively being assaulted and none of the neighbors were able to deescalate the situation.
There was also a time when we were driving by the house of a neighborhood friend who we knew was out of town and there were people actively breaking into it in broad daylight. I didn’t want to call but my partner did. I honestly had no idea what steps to take because, sorry, I was not about to confront some kids who had the gall to break into a house in broad daylight on a semi-busy street. But someone needed to confront them before they grabbed all my friend’s stuff. I don’t know how that would have been handled when we were outnumbered and they apparently had zero fear of being caught. I just don’t have any idea.
And when my partner was jumped when he was alone, near his car, by four teenagers, and had his car stolen… No one could stop it from happening at the time. So cops wouldn’t have helped. But someone did need to put in the report so when his car was found totalled a few neighborhoods away, they could connect it back with the crime so he was able to at least get the insurance payment for the ruined car.
Juno, it sounds like you’ve been in some really scary situations and did the best you could with the resources available to you at the time.
I think it’s important to note that severing your relationship with police isn’t something that can happen overnight. Many of the suggestions above involve getting out ahead of dangerous situations by seeking out deescalation training, establishing safety plans with neighbors, etc., and that’s work that takes a LOT of time. I hope that more of us start taking those steps so we’re in a better position to take care of ourselves and our communities without relying on police interference.
Much of the acute violence we experience is a result of survival crimes. Another huge piece of reducing our reliance on police involves our communities investing in mental health services, addiction recovery services, services for houseless folks and other programs that prevent violence before it starts. We can’t achieve those changes as individuals, but we CAN push our local governments to redirect funding to those areas.
West, thank you for this comment! I also wish that cops were better at deescalation. While more training sounds like a totally sensible idea, historically, police reform does not elicit actual results. Here’s a recent example: in 2015, the Minneapolis Police Department underwent implicit bias training, wore body cameras, and practiced mindfulness and “racial reconciliation” as part of a three-year, $4.75 million project by Obama’s Department of Justice. Five years later, George Floyd was senselessly killed by cops in that same city.
When we look at police murder as a result of inadequate screening and training, we’re not addressing how the very nature of policing serves to maintain and exacerbate inequality. More training for police also means more funding for police and less funding for mental health services, addiction recovery services and other programs that would more safely and adequately address issues that cops are mishandling now.
Here’s a really helpful article that outlines some of the problems with police reform: https://www.yesmagazine.org/social-justice/2020/06/02/police-reform-training/
Hey! Thank you for writing this article! I agree with you that many times, there are good ways to handle situations without calling the cops, and equally, that calling the cops can have devastating consequences either for the people they are called on or for people who have happened to be in the way.
Here is my question: what are good ways to deescalate actively violent situations without calling the cops? The only time I ever called the cops, it was because I heard a person screaming “help me, please help me” in the alley behind my house late at night. It was dark, I couldn’t see, but I could hear thumps and a person screaming in a way I had never heard a person scream before. I was worried that if I went outside, I might get attacked too. So with a lot of mixed feelings, I called the cops.
The person getting beaten up lived, and was taken to the ER, and the people beating him up (they also had a gun) escaped before the cops arrived. I know all of this because the person getting beaten up turned out to be one of my housemates. Law enforcement found them on the ground in the alley, and they texted us from the hospital.
Was there another, better way to handle this? I agree that life is more important than property, and certainly more important than like, loud music late at night or whatever. But it seems like sometimes the cops are also the only mechanism we have available in our society when someone’s life in threatened. What do you do in those situations?
Buy a gun. Learn how to use is responsibly, carry it when the law allows for it.
Sasha, I’m in the same boat as you. I support defunding/abolishing police, but two nights ago a large fight broke out in my block, about 8 people had taken over an intersection with physical violence and screaming. I decided to call the police when I heard a woman scream “Help me, help me, stop!”
I’m sorry to say I called the police because of my own morals, but it appeared other lives were in danger and I have no idea what other social service could de-escalate this…I’m not approaching them! I have no idea what’s happening, I don’t know them, I don’t know what weapons they have, etc.
What else is there to do in this situation?
Cw: child sexual abuse. Hi! I love this list. I am very against the police and I have not called the police in years. About a month ago, I had a very troubling incident that I called the police for. I’m wondering if people have suggestions for what I could have done instead. Under a park in our town is a system of tunnels and my partner and I saw a man with his shirt half off bringing a little girl out of the tunnel. We spoke to them, they were not related and the man acted as if we had caught him doing something bad. The girl wouldn’t answer my questions. I am a teacher and this to me was a classic abuse scenario. The man saw that we were suspicious and started to leave the park with the girl. We felt that we had to call the cops. I know that cops are not very helpful for situations of sexual abuse,but we needed someone to get there Fast before they left the park. what could we have done in that situation to avoid calling the police?
Aren’t you a mandated reporter? The idea that you would question the decision to call the police in that situation is disturbing. There are absolutely instances you call the cops for and that was one of them,
Aren’t you a mandated reporter? The fact that you are second guessing your decision is disturbing. There are absolutely situations that you call the cops and this is one of them.
I mean how are black people 2 1/2 times more likely to be killed if whites are killed more by cops? And that’s on actual data from the cdc and FBI…. good job on that ;)
Thanks for taking the time to look into this, Roger! These statistics can be a little confusing, but I hope this helps:
Population matters when you’re looking at statistics. If you clicked on the link I cited with that statistic, you would learn that in 2019, 24 percent of all police murders were of Black Americans, who make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population. That 11 point discrepancy means that Black people are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police.
It’s also important (and interesting) to note that the vast majority of white people killed by police between 2013 and 2019 were armed, versus Black people, who are 1.3X more likely to be unarmed during a police murder.
If you’re still having some trouble understanding those statistics, check out http://www.mappingtheviolence.org. This website uses graphs to lay out the data in a way that’s super easy to grasp and share.
That’s not how math works.
The denominator isn’t the population, it is the interaction with police.
A white person is 23.8% more likely to be killed by the police.
It’s not like scholarly references are important today, just typing up a blog or shouting it really loud makes it true.
You have no idea how to use statistics. Population cannot be the control group. Police interactions among races has to be the control group. When using police interactions, whites are more likely to be killed than POC.
For instance, I have 10 people in my house, and none of us has ever even gotten a speeding ticket. You have 6 people in your house, and 2 are bank robbers and 1 is a petty thief. Whose household has a greater chance of being a “victim of police violence”?
Obviously yours, even tho the population of my house is 67% greater.
I live in Eugene, Oregon and I love and value CAHOOTS so much. However, what is consistently not noted in stories that highlight the awesomeness of CAHOOTS is that they are accessed through and dispatched by the local police non-emergency lines. So, in order to call CAHOOTS, you have to call the police. The dispatch operator ultimately determines if they will send CAHOOTS or cops. This seems like important information to share when offering this resource as an alternative to calling police.
Does anyone have ideas around how to handle anti abortion protestors (and possible clinic invasion/blockage) situations in a productive way without calling the police?
Loved this post! This is such important work, we have to keep pushing ourselves on this. Thank you soo much for this.
It’s wonderful that you realized that cops are dangerous and should be avoided. It’s also ok that you think that “mandatory arrest laws” can bring bad things – though your understanding is very incomplete! They can also get people arrested and later land them in a lot of trouble, undeservedly, for very minor(or even non-existent things), they can also cause sever panic to a partner and if a gun is available, things can turn deadly. You don’t seem to know who contributed heavily to this situation with violent unaccountable cops and abusive laws! Answer: feminism! And you are using their propaganda terms like “survivor” and “domestic violence”. Do you know what a survivor is? A person whose life was in imminent danger and only luck saved them(like serious car accidents, terrorist attacks, etc.) Also the term “domestic violence” is discriminatory feminist “invention”, actually more of a hijacking, as it meant something else in the past, what’s called today internal conflict/civil unrest. Violence is violence, discriminatory categorization is bad. Unless you really like discrimination.