31-year-old Najee Seabrooks was a father and beloved violence intervention activist in New Jersey. And when he had his own mental health crisis, he called his colleagues at the Paterson Healing Collective (PHC), who rushed to the scene to help.
But Paterson police, who’d already harassed him before , got there first.
Instead of being allowed to help, police forced the trained professionals to wait outside for hours. As things unfolded, Seabrooks was shot to death by the police. But had they been allowed in, what would have happened instead?
The PHC has successfully provided mediation, mentoring, community forums, and violence intervention in partnership with a local hospital. In Seabrooks’ case, he needed a safe, familiar voice. Many pointed out he would still be alive today if they were allowed to assist.
From 2015 to 2019, residents filed 156 excessive force complaints against Paterson police. Across the country, cops wreak havoc in our communities with completely preventable deaths.
Police don’t lack funding and resources when they turn down resources right in front of them. They escalate. They stunt our progress. They are designed to kill.
We deserve survival and liberation. And that means investing in community instead. If you want to support the PHC in Seabrooks’ memory, you can visit https://patersonhealingcollective.org/.