I've written about some of these issues here before, but today The Nation published an essay of mine on the death Ethan Saylor.
Ethan, an adult man with Down syndrome, was at a movie theater and refused to leave after the first showing. His aide pleaded patience. His mom was on the way. The manager called security. Three moonlighting deputies threw him to the ground, cuffed him, and in a still somewhat confusing set of events, he died of asphyxiation.
Ethan isn't alone. In my essay, I talk about Antonio Martinez, a 4'11" man with Down syndrome from San Diego who dared to pull on a hoodie - that clothing garment so fraught with dangerous symbolism. Police, looking for another man (one report, now down, said he was 5"11 and Latino, so only a foot taller than Antonio. I have not been able to confirm this), demanded Antonio stop. He didn't. He fortunately survived the pepper spraying and beating with a baton.
And it's not just Down syndrome. Thanks in part to research from other Kossacks, I talk about deaf people who were tased when they didn't respond to verbal commands, a young man with autism who was tased because he didn't stop moving, and so much more, like the tasering of the naked 11-year-old autistic girl in Oregon, recently.
And it's not just disabled people. Because as we know, as we see again and again in diaries on DailyKOS and across the media, the presumption of so many is that if the police attack you, you must have done something wrong. Comply, fall in line, obey instantly, or prepare for the taser, truncheon, or pepper spray.
Thanks for reading and spreading the word. In our community, we're still hoping for justice for Ethan. And for all of us.
Essay link (in case you missed it above).
About me: I am a long-time DailyKOS member, history professor, and writer of public commentary.