Who do you call when Police murder your child?
A story in photographs.
The Hayes family moved west from Chicago in search of jobs, good schools, and healthy neighborhoods. They envisioned a place where their children could play sports, make music, meet friends at a library to study together, and grow up safe. On February 9, 2017, their handsome seventeen-year-old child was shot and killed by Portland, Oregon police. By their own report, cops surrounded Moose and shot him in the head while he was on his knees with his hands up. The family learned of Moose’s death from the news; police held onto his body for over a month before releasing it to the family for burial. No one in the Hayes family has ever been the same since.
Moose played tickle games with his siblings. There were pranks involving dancing, hiding cookies in outrageous places, laughter. “Moose, Moose!” the children would cheer when he came home from school. “Moose!”
He was a big-head baby, someone said he looked like Bullwinkle. “We always called him Moose,” Donna Hayes says. “He only became Quanice in the media. After the cops killed him.”
The story was hot news for a while, the family forced to mourn in public. After the initial vigil, there was a march; then press conferences, photographers, microphones.
One of the organizations that came forward in solidarity with the Hayes family is Pacific Northwest Family Circle, a club nobody ever wants to join. It’s for those whose loved ones have been killed by police, a group of families mourning and struggling for justice. They use hashtags like #PoliceAccountability, #StopPoliceBrutality, and #StopKillingUs. Their loved ones’ names become hashtags. #SayTheirNames.
#KeatonOtis, #ChristopherKalonji, #BodhiPhelps, #TerrellJohnson, #BradLeeMorgan…
Within six months after Moose’s death, the campaign to end police brutality became the focus of Donna Hayes’ life. She is a tireless internet researcher, documenting and posting instances of police brutality. Donna, supported by her mother, Sylvia Dollarson, Moose’s great-grandmother, speaks at rallies and in churches or city council meetings. Donna joins Pacific Northwest Family Circle in chalking, picketing police departments, making posters, and using social media to tell not only the story of what happened to Moose, but the stories of many families whose lives have been ripped apart by police violence.
Who do you call when police murder your child? You call on others who have suffered that inconsolable loss. You call on family. You call on your own fire of outrage, fury, and commitment to truth. You hope people will realize that calling the cops is an invitation to violence. You hope that if you tell the story over and over, enough people will hear it that a critical mass will stand beside you and make police violence stop.
From a speech by Donna Hayes to Portland City Council and Mayor, May 24, 2017:
Ours is not a fight against a few rogue cops, but against a system that spawns, enables, and legitimizes their rogue behavior. Your loved ones are not safe from police brutality, even if they are white. Let them have a mental health crisis and find out how safe they are at the hands of cops. Your lawmakers fear that the races will unify against police brutality. Let us work together for change, so that all our loved ones can be safe. Don’t be like me and countless others, grieving over a loved one killed by police.