Great analysis by Mariame Kaba of Project Nia in Chicago on the intersections of mental health and policing:
In a city like Chicago, those with mental health issues are particularly vulnerable to police violence; since Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed half of the public mental health clinics in 2012, police are our mental health first responders. Sins Invalid, a disability justice-based performance project, issued a statement on police violence last year suggesting that “disabled people who are autistic, who are deaf, who live with mental health impairments, or cognitive impairments, epilepsy or movement disorders, are at highest risk of being assaulted by police".
This is corroborated by an analysis conducted by the Washington Post this June. It’s important to add the word black to disabled people. In general, black people are at the highest risk of dying at the hands of the police.
Given these statistics – and the recent incident in Chicago – some might wonder whether it is best to avoid calling the police altogether. Yet, for many black people, law enforcement is ever-present in our overly surveilled neighborhoods. We don’t have to call them to encounter them. They are already here and always ready to harass, target and kill us.