On Friday, two cops in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania responded to a call for a suicidal man with a gun. It ended with him being taken into custody and sent for a psych evaluation. Praise for the officers came in the form of a Facebook post from Pittsburg police that has been shared more than 10,000 times.
This is how every situation should be handled. The system should operate so that it's not news that first responders are able to de-escalate an incident and they should have training to deal with high stress mental health issues if they are going to be the first ones to arrive (I don't think they should be). I'm glad that this ended well but it should be the rule, not the exception.
More importantly, Black and Brown people are shot in high stress and low stress incidents where they do NOT have weapons of any kind. Anything from Skittles to a cell phone in your hand can get you killed.
Less than two weeks ago, 36-year-old Chinedu Valentine Okobi was tasered to death by police near San Francisco. He was unarmed. He suffered from mental illness. Details on what transpired are still unclear but one thing is crystal: there is no reason Chinedu should be dead.
Do you also notice how the man's race and his picture weren't plastered all over this story? I am going to investigate further and I'll eat my words if I'm wrong, but I would put serious money on him being white. This reminds me not only of my previous point but that mainstream media has a nasty habit of vilifying Black and Brown people, too. Digging into their past and present to find any 'justification' for harassing, hurting or killing them. Remember the small amount of weed cops found in Botham Jean's apartment AFTER an off-duty cop entered his apartment and shot him dead? I read countless headlines about his weed after being murdered in his own home.
What these cops did in Pennsylvania is a good thing. It's just also a brutal reminder of the gross inequities within every aspect of our criminal justice system.