#AdvocacyMatters: On Intersections and Injustice
October 15, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters
Last week, Dayton Police released body camera video of an incident from late September where a Black man with paraplegia was dragged out of his vehicle by officers during a routine traffic stop. In the video, the man can be heard repeatedly telling officers that he is paralyzed and is unable to exit the car. After a police supervisor is called to the scene, the man is seen being grabbed by the hair and arm. Despite again notifying police that he is paralyzed and that officers are hurting him, he is dragged out of the car onto the ground.
Last fall Disability Rights Ohio released Policing and Racial Injustice: A Disability Rights Perspective, a policy report examining the ways police use of force has disproportionately impacted people with disabilities. Our research indicated that people with disabilities are more likely to be victims of police brutality. Despite representing only 20 percent of the population, those with disabilities make up 30 to 50 percent of individuals subject to police use of force. It is estimated that one-third to one-half of people killed by police are people with disabilities. Additionally, the risk of being subjected to police violence increases as disability intersects with race, class, gender, and LGBTQ+ status.
As important as this reporting was in elevating the issue and creating discussion, our work didn’t end there. Our just-announced 2022 Goals and Objectives reaffirmed this commitment to continue recognizing how racial justice and disability rights intersect particularly during law enforcement interactions and in involvement in the criminal justice system. Our mission may be to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of Ohioans with disabilities, but we understand that this work does not happen in a vacuum. We know that the intersection of race and disability impacts our clients. Our mission, our vision and our strategic direction is about equality, freedom from discrimination, and empowering the voices of those who are frequently not valued or listened to. Where race and disability intersect, more acknowledgement, advocacy, and awareness is needed… and because #AdvocacyMatters, our work is pressing on.