A new investigation found that, for at least 25 years, police and medical examiners were using “sickle cell trait” as the cause of death for Black people in police custody. Including, most recently, George Floyd!
But wait. Is sickle cell trait a killer?
Sickle cell trait, carried by 7.7% of Black Americans, is usually harmless. But that didn’t stop authorities from classifying nearly 50 police brutality deaths – that we know of – as “undetermined,” “accidental,” or “natural” because the victim had sickle cell trait!
Doctors are saying this isn’t adding up.
None of the people who died had actual sickle cell DISEASE! And, even if they did, so what? Dr. Roger Mitchell, Jr. explains: “You can’t put the blame on sickle cell trait when there is ... a chokehold … No, that becomes a homicide.”
But if police want to bring up disabilities, let’s talk about it.
Black disabled patients are statistically neglected by the healthcare system. 30-50% of people killed by police have disabilities. George Floyd also had a heart condition and hypertension. But was that why he died, or was it the knee on his neck?
Disabled Black people are already some of our most vulnerable when it comes to police brutality – but this isn't about police caring about disabilities. This is police lying to evade accountability for their actions!