This dehumanizing act should end immediately.
A stunned and horrified onlooker recorded and uploaded on YouTube a video showing NYPD officers using an inhumane type of restraint device, a “body bag”, on an African-American man.
In the video uploaded this March the man is seen lying on the ground not far a subway stop with his wrists tied and legs taped. The officers are literally packing the poor guy in a kind of long bag which is then zipped over his face.
The passersby were clearly heard expressing their shock:
“This is the craziest s–t I’ve ever seen done to somebody in my whole f–king life. Holy s–t. What do you call that thing?”
“Never in my life have I seen anything like this. What the f–k is wrong with you people? There’s a man in that bag like an animal.”
The viewers soon got all the information the NYPD thought they deserved to know. The terrible thing was called ‘EDP bag’ and was used by police for restraining allegedly emotionally disturbed individuals.
“[The NYPD] uses the device when an EDP is violent and may cause harm to themselves or others. The bag is ventilated and they can breathe,” a spokeswoman for the NYPD noted in a statement.
DeSantis Company produces these modern torture instruments and seems to be proud of its invention. It was called a “modern straightjacket reinvented.” The bag is recommended to police as a “durable” solution in cases of “bringing in an emotionally-disturbed person (EDP) to the psychiatric emergency room or temporarily to a holding cell.”
The description on the producer’s site continues with lots more gruesome details and features including handles for even distribution of bodyweight and strong material, easy to clean and allowing bodily fluids pass through.
The only problem, which may rise from the use of such “convenient” product, is that according to experts it traumatizes an already traumatized person even more.
Carla Rabinowitz is an advocacy coordinator for Community Access, a New York-based support organization for people living with mental illness, says, “Use of such restraint traumatizes a person in emotional distress and exacerbates the condition and experience of the crisis for the individual.”
“It is a dehumanizing tactic, and promotes stigma against people with mental health issues.”
The man in the YouTube clip, Johnell Muhammad, was only suspected of not paying for subway.
According to The Times, the practice of turning a suspect into living luggage has been used by the NYPD more than once a day during the period between January 1 and April 20 of this year.
The relevance of mental health is growing quicker and quicker when we speak about the relations between African Americans and police.
There is a long list of names of nonviolent Black people suffering from psychic disorders and killed by police. Take Kevin Matthews from Michigan, Anthony Hill from Georgia, or Ezell Ford from Los-Angeles.
All these deaths seem to be approved by general public considering mentally disabled people dangerous. A study by the American Psychological Association shows that only 7.5 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly connected to the symptoms of their diseases.
Jillian Peterson, the study’s lead researcher states, “When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes so they get stuck in people’s heads.”
“The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, not criminal and not dangerous.”
What we see clearly proves that police feels responsible for serving and protecting preferably white and healthy citizens while treating the rest like animals. Freddie Gray died being restrained in a much more ‘gentle’ way, because he was deprived from the right to get medical assistance. Can you imagine how many black people can die the same way if they are place in such ‘comfortable’ and ‘safe’ bags?!
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