“I heard my baby say, I want my mama after he shot him, and then I didn’t hear anything else.”
These were the last words that Juanita Donald heard from her 24-year old son, Kaldrick. But Kaldrick wasn’t roaming the streets. He wasn’t resisting arrest. Kaldrick simply refused to take his medicine.
It isn’t uncommon for parents to make the mistake of calling the police for social assistance. After all, many people don’t have any experience with law enforcement. For those that do, it’s generally negative. And those people no longer call the cops for help.
Mothers and fathers who call the police for “help” are working from a position of incomplete or mis- information. The common myth is that law enforcement exists within a community to help you. As if they are a merry troupe of do-gooders.
In reality, law enforcement exists for the very literal purpose of those two words: law enforcement. The purpose, the full mission, is to enforce laws. If this helps someone, if it saves a life, or rescues a drowning baby, is all tangential to the goal of making an arrest (or deciding not to make an arrest).
In other words, the police are the proverbial man with a hammer: every situation looks like a nail. And so it isn’t a surprise when well-intentioned parents call the police, only for the interaction to end in tragedy. This isn’t the first time it has happened.
It isn’t uncommon for witnesses to be arrested. It’s not uncommon for victims of crimes, upon calling the police, to be arrested either. And those arrests are often confusing, hostile and violent. No one, in this position, expects the persons they call for help to turn on them. This has led many people, entire communities in fact, to decide that they will never call the police. It’s simply too big of a risk.
Perhaps you’re a victim; you legitimately need someone to call the police to help you. Tough luck. Incidents like this have ruined it for everyone. Yes, sometimes we may be in need of assistance from a third party. We may be in need of protection. But the police, as they exist, are in no position to provide said assistance or protection. And the kind of protection they offer, upon close examination, is unwanted.
(It’s better to have a trustworthy neighbor, friend or family member. Even better – empower yourself by shouldering the burden of your own self-defense.)
In any case, the message here is mostly for parents. The police are not well-trained. Few receive any training at all, nothing worthy of mention, when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill. Incidentally, firearms training is also deficient.
These are not the people tasked with the mission of disciplining your child, with “scaring them straight,” or with taxiing them to institutions for professional help. Police officers are taught (incorrectly) that most encounters with the public are inherently dangerous and potentially fatal. A large part of their daily activities involve using physical force on people, to detain them.
This means that if you don’t want the cops to treat your child like a violent criminal, don’t call the cops.