Friday, September 30, 2016

Alfred Olango

[TRIGGER WARNING: DEATH, MURDER BY POLICE, GUN VIOLENCE, SUICIDE]

I'm late on this, possibly because my brain overloaded from all the police fuckery that's been going on. But I need to power through it. And some new details have come out about this case.

Alfred Olango was a 30-year-old black man who is now dead because cops killed him. He was unarmed and "acting erratically," according to police, and he took something out of his pocket and pointed it at them, so they shot and killed him. It was a vape pen.

I heard both that Olango was having an episode related to mental illness and that he was having a seizure. According to NBC, neither is true. He was actually grieving due to the recent death of a close friend, says his family. They say he was having a "mental breakdown," which isn't really a thing. However, intense grief and emotional distress will make people behave "erratically," because hello?

There's some speculation that Olango may have pointed his vape pen at police intentionally, knowing they would shoot him. At the same time, there are people callously saying shit like, "you should know not to point things at police," as though Olango deserved to die. But did you also know that "suicide by cop" is a thing? The fact that this is a thing and that Olango may have known he could commit suicide by pointing a vape pen at cops is supremely fucked up.

People say that if you cooperate with police and do what they say, you'll be fine. Of course this has proven not to be true multiple times when it comes to black people. But also, this shouldn't be an expectation to survive an encounter with police. There are many reasons why people might not be able to behave exactly in the way that police want. Maybe they're having a seizure. Or a stroke. Or are mentally ill and are having an episode. Or they could be autistic. Or deaf and unable to speak. None of these people deserve to die.

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