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NCIL Statement on Police Violence

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) acknowledges that police violence, which is the cause of death for one out of every 1,000 Black males – a rate that is 2.5 greater than that for white males – is a public health issue that intersects with the disability rights movement via several different and troubling avenues:

  • the traumatization of the Black community that occurs as a result of being subjected to the prevalent images of Black people being assaulted and even killed on live TV
  • the aggravation of anxiety and other related mental health conditions as a result of constant monitoring by law enforcement in one’s own community
  • the onset of acquired disabilities as a consequence of police violence that does not result in death
  • the reality that police violence is a mitigating factor in overall health disparities prevalent within the Black community that, ultimately, impact overall life expectancy rates for Black people

We make note of this issue in light of recent high-profile instances of violence against Black people in the US by active / off-duty / retired law enforcement.  However, we recognize that outrage is no longer a sufficient response and commit to exploring proactive ways that we can support Independent Living to develop the means necessary to provide peer support and individual / systems advocacy to consumers, both prospective and actual, who are impacted by police violence.

We recognize that Black people (as well as Indigenous and other people of color) may not even feel safe to engage in systems advocacy regarding police violence without possibly putting themselves at risk to even more police violence.  In light of that, our newly announced Presidential Taskforce on Race and Equity will prioritize critically examining the barriers to systems advocacy that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color experience with the intent of bringing their findings, feedback, and action steps back to NCIL – and to Independent Living.

NCIL stands in solidarity with advocacy organizations across the country in condemning all unwarranted police violence against Black people, such as Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by a retired investigator in February; Sean Reed, who was killed by Indianapolis law enforcement officers last week; Breonna Taylor, who was killed as the result of a botched sting operation; Dameon Shepard, who was terrorized in his home by an off-duty sheriff this past weekend; and countless others whose stories may or may not make it into the conscience of the US public.