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BIPOC Anxiety and Fear Related to Police Interaction and Use of Force

Virtual Discussions About Police Use of Force Being Planned for Sound Team Members and Community Members

Many of our clients at Sound are BIPOC and some have been traumatized by interactions with law enforcement during their lives. Recent events like the murder of George Floyd have only intensified anxiety and fear of law enforcement. The current trial of officer Derek Chauvin adds to the PTSD as the story of his violent death is examined from all conceivable angles. If you are a BIPOC individual, one of the last things you want to see is red and blue police lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Traffic stops that turn into fatal shootings have been all too common throughout this nation’s history.  There are many noble and courageous police officers in this country, but there are also racist, incompetent and armed officers whose overreactions have resulted in the “accidental” deaths of individuals — and triggered lawsuits against police departments.

On Sunday, April 11, a 20-year-old Black man was killed when an officer mistakenly used her service weapon instead of her taser on the suspect who was attempting to flee officers during a traffic stop in Minnesota.

Here’s the link to the story: https://www.twincities.com/2021/04/12/police-minnesota-officer-meant-to-draw-taser-not-handgun/

Black-LatinX Man Pepper-Sprayed During Traffic Stop

Over the weekend, a disturbing video surfaced of an incident on Dec. 5, 2020, involving Army Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and LatinX. Nazario was driving his new Chevy Tahoe in Windsor, Virginia when cops noticed he didn’t have license plates. He did have a temporary plate in his window, which apparently the officers didn’t see.  

After driving approximately one mile to a well-lit gas station, Nazario was ordered out of his car, given confusing orders, and pepper-sprayed by one of the officers. He was then kicked and brought to the ground and handcuffed.

At one point during the stop, the officer yells at him to “get out of the car and unbuckle his seatbelt.” The victim says he’s afraid to move; the officer’s reply: “you should be!” Nazario is then pepper-sprayed.

The officer was terminated, but there is also a video of the same officer intimidating Nazario and trying to convince the victim not to report the incident because “it might hurt your career and we might have to file charges against you.”

Nazario has filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of his Constitutional rights.

Below is a link to the video of the incident.

https://amp.tmz.com/2021/04/10/black-lieutenant-held-at-gunpoint-pepper-sprayed-traffic-stop/?fbclid=IwAR0fEUQ2UGv0Gv7ErrYWhz180xqgink8UpsUXPz2U2x6JgUDxzoS0moNlb4

The incident involving the Army Lieutenant struck an emotional chord with Nev Trakic, Sound Senior Clinic Manager. She began to think about how People of Color and many African Americans are treated during a traffic stop. Over the weekend, Trakic was stopped by police.

“I could reach in my glove compartment without being yelled at or having a gun pulled on me. And with a few word exchanges, I was on my way. And at that moment I thought about how this would have not been the case if I wasn’t white. I thought about how that was my privilege and how the system is designed to favor me to the extent of not only deciding whether I will I get a ticket or not but more horrifying, whether I will I live or not.”

Trakic also sees a need for significant police reform.

“We need police accountability.  We need police reform and we need a justice system that can deliver accountability.”  

Virtual discussions are being planned to discuss the issue of police use of force and its effects on BIPOC individuals. These meetings will involve both team members and community members. For more information, contact diversity.inclusion@sound.health.


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