Opinion: A fatal force

By Generocity, | December 16, 2020

Former Emerging Leader Fellow Kee Tobar published a guest piece for Generocity about the urgent need to invest in alternatives to law enforcement for those experiencing mental health crises.

Before there was Walter Wallace Jr., there was Wallace Wilder of Alabama. Alfred Olango of California. Brandon Roberts of Delaware. Lavall Hall of Florida. Anthony Hill of Georgia.  Jonathan Jefferson and Michael Noel of Louisiana. Ricardo Muñoz of Pennsylvania. Daniel Prude of New York. Arther McAfee of Texas. Marcus David Peters of Virginia.  Kevin Ruffin of Wisconsin. Countless others.

All of these stories are nuanced, but they all combine law enforcement with people experiencing mental health crises, with deadly results. And they are not alone: 1,331 people living with severe mental illness have been killed by the police in the U.S. since 2015. More than 30% of those killed were people of color. While Walter Wallace Jr. has opened the figurative eyes of Philadelphians to the violence that people living with severe mental illness may suffer at the hands of the police, this is not a new story.

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