George Floyd, Irvo Otieno and Cornelius Fredericks all have one thing in common. They were all restrained, sat on for more than 5 minutes, asphyxiated and died. All by “Abuse of Power” circumstances. These were all very tragic and unnecessary deaths that occurred by individuals that people should be able to trust. Cornelius Fredericks was only 16 years old when he died in a detention Center.
I usually don’t write about things in the news, however I think the “abuse of power” is worth writing about. And they say change starts with just one person. As I sit here writing I know there were details that were left out of the news reports. And I know this because I have worked in the behavioral health field for many years. I know the training that I had to take to work with individuals with behavioral health diagnoses and I know that almost every state if not all of them by now has a crisis team and the exact training that I had. It is called Crisis Intervention Training.(CIT). By now most police departments, prisons and jails should have certified CIT officers and guards on staff at all times, so when you call 911 all you have to do is ask for one to come out.
I have taken this training for the past 20 years. Over the years the training has modified and or removed some of the restraints it does because the restraints can cause harm even death. Those restraints would be prone(face down 5 people holing you down to the ground) and sitting basket hold leaning forward. Now CIT has very specific rules also one: you never place anyone in a restraint unless someone is hurting themselves, someone else or doing property damage and two: you do not restrain for more that 5 minutes. And you never put your knee in someone’s neck or spinal column
When we had our business, we explained to our staff that there were cues to watch for. If you got hit once , it didn’t mean restrain that person. And I told them they were going to get “a little beat up” before we would restrain anyone. We hated restraining anyone, it was humiliating and degrading to the one we were restraining. These individuals had incredible strength, they fought like they were fighting for their life and they could be aggressive for hours.
8 out 10 individuals with disabilities and behavioral health diagnoses have cues. Every once in awhile you get really lucky and they will tell you exactly what they are going to do to you. Those cues tell right before, that person becomes very aggressive. If you have observed or worked with them long enough you know the cues and can redirect, stop the aggression before it gets to that point.
The “Abuse of Power” cases I’m not sure if it was fear of the not knowing what is coming ie.. aggression. Fear of the behavior health diagnoses. Maybe it was having power over someone. Or starting something and losing control to the point the that you couldn’t go back. Or maybe it wasn’t intentional, it was just something that spiraled out of control.
No matter what it was, everyone loses. Families lost a family member and had to say good-bye to someone forever. The officers, guards, EMT’s and medical staff will be behind bars for a long so they will lose a lot of time with their families and will lose out on a big part of their life. And this story will hopefully inspire someone to make a change somewhere.
There are many ways of “Abuse of Power”. If you’re being abused now or have been abused please tell someone and get help.
Before I started writing this blog I wanted to find the perfect definition of “Abuse of Power”. The definition states: A misuse of power by someone in a position of authority who can use the leverage they have to oppress persons in an inferior position or to induce them to commit a wrongful act. REF:THELAW.COM LAW DICTIONARY & BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 2ND ED.
If you have a story I would love to hear about it.
Tell me what you think.