W illiam Gude passes his days trying to hold the police to account. As the outspoken creator and monitor behind @filmthepolicela, a Twitter account that has attracted thousands of followers, he regularly criticizes the LAPD by filming and tweeting about their activity - stopsfrom traffic to confrontations with protesters.
But one night in June, his tweets got personal. That night he told his supporters that his son, Marcelis William-Gude, had been shot. After pressing send, Gude went to the hospital where a doctor told her her 22-year-old son had died after being shot several times in South Los Angeles.
"I couldn't believe it " said Gude, adding that he couldn't even not bring himself to see the body of his son. "He loved life and the world isn't a better place now that he's gone.
But a few days later, Gude saw a headline from a local ABC affiliate that stopped him in his tracks. "Outspoken LAPD Critic Now Relies on LAPD to Find Son's Killer," read the now-deleted headline. A requestThe Guardian 's comment from the news agency was not returned.
Gude says his criticism of the LAPD should not affect the finding the person who killed his son, no more than suing a doctor would prevent you from receiving future health care. "Apparently there are those who think that if you force the police to follow the rules it somehow interferes with their ability to solve my son's murder," he said. -he declares. "And that doesn't make any sense.
Gude joins a cohort of families whose lives have been plunged into a nationwide debate over fundraising appeals policing, a movement that has gathered momentum over the past year and has even seen some cities begin to transfer funds from policing to violence prevention efforts. But the debate has also become increasingly politicized, as politicians, trade unionspolice cats and others cling to the narrative that homicide figures are proof that police funding has and will continue to lead to more violence.
This is the last chapter of an old playbook, in which the devastating toll of gun violence on black and Latino communities is used to expose the supposed failures of progressive policies. And along the way, the stories of Marcelis William-Gude and others like him are caught in the middle, exacerbating the trauma of grieving families.
" You always have the potential for people's evil to be politicized and it can make the grief they experience worse. It is part of the policy against crime. said Nikki Jones, professor of African American studies at UC Berkeley. "But we need to understand what it means to keep people safe so that we can have a conversation that is not about fear, but about developing solutions.
Additionally, the 'Rising Crime' narrative often lacks significant context - for example, the crime rates in the United States do not increase. However, killings have risen sharply since mid-2020 and the gun violence that appears to be behind this increase is not evenly distributed. Rather, the shootings remain concentrated in low-income black and brown communities that have long borne the brunt of gun violence, and where outreach work in schools and hospitals that has helped at-risk residents stay alive. was pertroubled by the pandemic.
Violence interrupters and grieving family members say these political debates obscure the alternative, holistic solutions to gun violence and reduce the victims of gunshot wounds to anonymous or complicit in the discourse on crime, violence and policing.
There is a wide range of views among black Americans who have been affected by gun violence and crime. Some criticize the police and would like their budgets to be allocated to community response efforts. Others feel safer with more police patrols in areas where violence is occurring.concentrated. even crime survivors with different opinions find common ground on the importance of healing and prevention in disr the cycle of violence.
"I see the victims and survivors want justice and the person to go to jail for what they did - especially if they took a life. I also see that law enforcement has done a good job of exploiting this trauma for their narrative, "said Paul Carrillo, director of the Community Violence Initiative for the Giffords Law Center.
"It 's an effective way to make the case that the police need more funding," he continued. "But, I did. would expect these same officials and law enforcement to help these survivors with allt what they need to get back on their feet. "
Death of young man, caught in Oakland 's police debate
When Teyanna Johnson woke up to two missed calls from Precious Lewis, her niece's mother, on a Saturday night last month, she knew something was wrong. The last time Lewis called her that was to tell her that Johnson's mother had passed away. She recalled Lewis' call the next morning and learned that her nephew, Da 'Shawn Rhoades, had been shot and killed. Upon hearing the news, Johnson fell to the ground, unable to breathe, and began to sob.