Police Saved Their Lives, Then Posted Their Trauma On Twitter

Cell phone recording video
Zain Murdock
September 9, 2021

To jumpstart some positive press amongst recent publicized killings, police officers have been posting videos on social media this year of themselves saving people from suicide attempts. But mental health advocates say they may be doing more harm than good.

Only weeks after one Los Angeles woman’s suicide attempt, police posted a nerve-wracking video of her hanging off a bridge, officers pulling her to safety, then clinking handcuffs around her. Other posts detail how many pills someone ingested, or their address. They’re not using content warnings, either! 

They’re doing exactly what mental health professionals say NOT to do.

“It’s like we were living in this tragedy with them,” said suicide prevention advocate and survivor Kevin Berthia. “Now how is that not creating trauma for anybody else? Who else is this triggering?”

Black youth’s suicide rates have increased 71% in a decade. Experts believe these posts “may actually deter viewers from calling 911” because they don’t want to be arrested. Many departments don’t even ask the survivor for permission to upload these videos!

This is how we know police care more about how the public perceives them than actually keeping the public safe: while they boast about their “acts of kindness” online, their benevolence is strategic and fake. We need actual kindness in our communities, not exploitation of our pain.

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: