We Resist: Day 106

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

As the political news today is overwhelmingly about the "healthcare" bill, I want to use today's thread to talk about something else that really needs our attention.

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; violence; death; discussion of self-harm.]

Edward Crawford was the man at the center of this iconic image taken during the protests in Ferguson. Last night, he was found dead in his car.

My condolences to his family, friends, and community. I am so sorry.

This is the police account of what happened:
He was in a car when the gun went off. Two women were in the car with him, police say. The women told police that Crawford had started talking about how depressed he was. They heard him fumbling around for something, and the next thing they knew he shot himself.

Crawford's father, 52, said he believes it was an accidental shooting, not intentional. "I don't believe it was a suicide," he said. He said investigators weren't saying much to him yet. "They're being hush-hush," the father said.

While police say it was self-inflicted, they say that doesn't conclude if the victim shot himself on purpose or if the gun discharged accidentally. The case is being handled by district detectives, not homicide investigators.
His father noted that Crawford had been in good spirits: "He just got a new apartment and was training for a new job."

That does not, of course, necessarily mean that he did not take his own life. People are complicated. Crawford, as Morgan Jael notes in an important thread, "faced several charges while the man who took the photo won a Pulitzer Prize." He would not be the first Black person who took his own life after terrible interactions with the police and/or the carceral state. The story of Kalief Browder, for example, should be one that we all know; he is a man whose death we should all grieve.

And, as I wrote when reporting the alleged suicides while in police custody of Sandra Bland and Kindra Darnell Chapman, even suicide "doesn't mean agents of the state aren't culpable, as so many white people are keen to argue. That means we need to interrogate why it is, exactly, that Black people in police custody view taking their own lives as their best possible option."

Crawford was not in police custody. Nor was Browder. But they had life-changing interactions with police. We cannot overlook that.

All of which should not be taken to mean that I believe Crawford took his own life, because I don't. (It is merely to observe that, even if he did, that did not happen in a vacuum.)

And I don't believe it for this reason: Crawford is at least the third Black activist/protestor in Ferguson to be found dead in his car.

In November 2014, Deandre Joshua was found dead in his car with "a bullet in his head and accelerant poured on his body in an apparent attempt to light him on fire."

In September 2016, Darren Seals was found dead in his car, having "suffered a gunshot wound before the car was set on fire."

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this isn't a pattern, but a series of coincidences. Maybe Crawford did take his own life accidentally, or deliberately.

Either way, we need to resist the urge to ignore even the possibility that Black activists have been targeted, and/or that their interactions with police are underwriting self-harm. Black lives matter, and the reasons that Black lives end matter, too.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus