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Our statement on the killing of Herman Whitfield

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Nearly two years after IMPD’s officers killed three people within the span of 8 hours, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the community has been made aware of yet another killing by the hands of the police.

The culture of policing insists that agents disregard consideration of the context of humanity when it comes to mental health crisis calls, as evidenced by the 2015 killing of Christopher Goodlow, the 2019 killing of Eleanor Northington, and now the present-day killing of Herman Whitfield III in crisis who, instead of receiving the clinical response he deserved, was handcuffed, tased, and killed. Herman’s family called for an ambulance in a moment of distress and were punished for their concern with the negligible killing of their loved one.

In a city that continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into reactive entities and initiatives, IMPD is not solely culpable. They respond to the strings pulled by the ineptitude of Mayor Hogsett, Chief Taylor, FOP President Rick Snyder, and the cowardice of the City Council who continues to raise their budget year after year despite pleas from the community to invest in care, not cops.

This incestuous circle jerk between the guttersnipes of city leadership has yet to release anything of worth, and it is not lost on us that in a city whose mayor boasts about personal friends receiving crime prevention grants, whose K-9 unit was found in 2020 to have more dog bites than 11 cities combined, and a police chief who threatened Black women and femmes with water hoses and dogs after losing an overtime security contract, that leadership is motivated by capitalism and not the community that deserves protection, safety, and wellness.

The time for reform has passed. A shift must begin to engage deep care of community members in crisis: ensuring that they have adequate support for their mental health needs, that there are competent providers responding to those in crisis, and that the means to supply and exceed these needs is not excused away as a lack of financial resources when the reactive police force boasts a budget of over $260M but fails Black bodies in need.

We call on the community to remember their historical, present, and future power and work with us to #DefundIMPD and invest in care, not cops. The demands STILL STAND.