Behind a contentious exchange on Facebook.
Maybe twenty years ago, I worked at a law firm that specialized in civil rights cases. One of them went like this.
A Baltimore CITY police officer, whom I’ll call Perkins, responded to a call for “a disorderly person.” He found our client, whom I’ll call Cherry, whom diabetes has rendered legally blind, operating his hot dog stand. Cherry was in a state of hypoglycemic shock, sometimes called insulin shock. This is a medical crisis. But that’s not what Perkins perceived.
I have Type 2 diabetes myself. When my blood sugar drops, I get nervous and jittery. Not all people do. Some get “irritable,” which is actually a misleading term. “Hostile” or “violent” would be closer the mark. The most severe domestic disturbances I’ve ever witnessed involved men who were in this state.
Details of what went down between those two, don’t matter here. The baton came out. In our office, in a big, clear, plastic bag on top of one of the cabinets, were the clothes Cherry wore that day, drenched in blood.
Insulin shock isn’t rare. If police aren’t trained to recognize it and respond appropriately, I don’t know why. Perkins, for his part, had PERSONAL reason to know better.
A few months before, during another episode of insulin shock, Cherry, at his home in Baltimore COUNTY, took the keys and got in the family car and drove off. Recall that he is legally blind. He collided with four parked cars before his vehicle came to a stop. Whatever went down after the police arrived, he wound up filing an excessive force claim against that officer, too — Perkins’ BROTHER.
Someone please tell me how defunding police would fix this.