I watched 14 police officers take down a one-legged homeless Black man outside Twitter HQ
Chaédria LaBouvier

Mz via HackerNews

I am homeless. I did not read the entire article because the author really does not know what happened yet assumes the worst about the police.

First, as someone who is both homeless and seriously handicapped, I feel the article is offensive and dehumanizing to people like me for its clear assumption that poverty and a handicap makes someone incapable of being a real threat. That is beyond insulting and in no way helps get people like me and our actual problems taken more seriously.

Second, although there is plenty of classicism in the world and this does negatively impact my life, I think I am far more aware if its impact in online forums than IRL. Some people IRL make my life unnecessarily harder with their unfounded conclusions about me. More people online seem to dismiss the possibility that I have a brain and something of value to contribute to the conversation and so on.

Third, it is not uncommon for local cops to be familiar with local homeless people. A high percentage of people on the street have either medical or mental health issues. Many of them are self medicating with drugs or alcohol. Society as a whole needs to come up with better solutions, but, while waiting for those solutions, cops still need to protect the public from sometimes irrational behaviour. If they know this guy and have a long history with him, sending him to a hospital may be the most humane, compassionate answer available.

I was woke up one night by a cop looking for another homeless person who was wanted for violent assault. When I was woke up, it was very aggressive because he was looking for a violent man and prepared for the worst. When he saw who I was, he said “Oh, it’s you. I know who you are. You can put your hands down.” He then went into social worker mode. I had not interacted directly with the police in that town before but I was recognized and known to be not a troublemaker.

The antidote to racism, sexism, classicism etc is to judge individuals as individuals and take things on a case by case basis. This article is very guilty of not doing that. It makes sweeping judgements of both the cops and the individual they sent to a hospital, without knowing enough about what happened to justify those conclusions.

There are a great many things wrong with how we deal with homelessness in this country and I know racism, classicism, sexism etc are very real and do serious harm to people. But I don’t see this article helping in any way to solve that problem.

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