Police Knew He Needed Help, But Killed Him Anyway

police patches
Zain Murdock
April 26, 2024

Vietnam veteran Carl Grant had been diagnosed with both PTSD and dementia by his 60s. So on Super Bowl Sunday in 2020, he found himself at a stranger’s house in Alabama after going grocery shopping in Georgia. That homeowner called the police, who came and recognized Grant’s condition. 

 A few hours later, at the hospital, an officer flipped him over in a “hip toss” before handcuffing him. The impact paralyzed him.

Grant died just months later. While in the hospital, he apologized to his family, believing he’d gotten the injury in Vietnam. 

 But what happened to the officer responsible for his death? 

Nothing. Like many cops who commit brutal violence, he got a second chance. This second chance is not granted to victims of police terror, reinforcing the idea that the police are more valuable than the lives they steal.

Grant’s story is part of a new AP investigation covering over 1,000 deaths after “non-lethal” uses of police force like restraints, beatings, and tasings from 2012 to 2021. Black victims, of course, were overrepresented.

Even without militarization and instantly fatal gear, the system and culture of policing legitimize the dangerous power cops wield by telling us we need them even when they kill us. But victims like Grant aren’t just exceptions to the rules of policing. This is what policing does.