Many Die Defenseless In Police Custody

"I Can't Breathe" sign
William Anderson
December 7, 2020

George Floyd was one of them. Marcus Deon Smith was another. Tanisha Anderson, too. These are people who were killed in the “prone” position: face down and restrained. Even in one of the most defenseless positions, officers still kill people! 

What’s worse? They know it’s wrong and do it anyway.


The Department of Justice warned about prone restraints back in 1995! They pointed out it could impair breathing in deadly ways, but it still keeps happening. Police have ignored these warnings, and it’s coming at an unforgivable cost.

A recent investigation identified at least 107 people across the nation who’ve been killed by police this way in recent years. And it’s not just happening to adults, either! They’re also killing those this society is supposed to protect.

Children have also been killed while in prone restraints. But do the police face consequences?

No. They’re protected by legal rules like qualified immunity, and when they investigate themselves they of course usually find no wrongdoing. The system often justifies these senseless deaths.

There’s no reason anyone should be killed as they lay restrained and defenseless, while they walk freely, or any other reason an officer might feel like taking a life. If we want to stop these deaths, we have to challenge the power police have to execute as they please.

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