Police are a lot more scared than you think they are, which is why so many “out-of-the-ordinary” people are harmed or killed in police welfare checks. From John W. and Nisha Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“This should have never happened. We shouldn’t be living in a society where you call for help and be killed.”— Mother of Damian Daniels, who was shot by police during a wellness check
Think twice before you call the cops to carry out a welfare check on a loved one.
Especially if you value that person’s life.
Particularly if that person is disabled, mentally ill, elderly, autistic, hearing impaired, suffering from dementia, or might have a condition that hinders their ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.
According to an investigation by The Washington Post, cops sent out on welfare checks ended up shooting or killing the very people they were supposed to assist in at least 178 cases over the course of three years.
Atatiana Jefferson was neither disabled, mentally ill, elderly, autistic, hearing impaired, suffering from dementia. The 28-year-old Fort Worth resident was merely awake at 2:30 am, playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew in a house with its lights on and the front door open.
A neighbor, noticing the lights and open door, asked police to do a welfare check on the household. Instead of announcing themselves at the front door, police crept quietly around the house. Hearing noises outside, Jefferson approached her bedroom window to investigate.
Seeing Jefferson through the window, police yelled, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” Within seconds of issuing that order and without identifying themselves, police fired a single shot. Jefferson died on the scene.
Atatiana Jefferson’s death is yet one more grim statistic to add to that growing list of Americans—unarmed, impaired or experiencing a mental health crisis—who have been killed by police trained in the worst-case scenario and thus ready to shoot first and ask questions later.