Letter: Hastings squandered opportunities
To the editor:
I do not wish to assume.
I did not know Mr. Keagan Lee Johnson-Lloyd or his family. I do know that Mr. Johnson-Lloyd and me shared something in common — humanity. That humanity is marginalized by society because of who we are. It is reported that Johnson-Lloyd was challenged by mental illness and addiction, I am challenged by birth of a prescribed race, you see I am guilty being born black.
In this community and many others across this country, you are marginalized if you aren't white, have health issues, LGBT, chemically addicted, live in poverty, homeless, I could go on and on.
We don't feel safe. In Johnson-Lloyd's case, he was not safe.
Some in the Hastings community are working on a vision and a design that supports a future that is welcoming, accepting and safe.
So, if one of the goals is to promote and enjoy a safer Hastings, shouldn't we consider:
1. An expectation of what community safety is? As a community, do we want a safety model that is based on a safe-level index, with levels assigned by race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc.
2. A reasonable goal to remove and eliminate fear.
3. A reasonable expectation of the services and protection from Hastings Police Department.
4. A clear understanding of city's policies, protocols and procedures.
5. A clear understanding of how implemented policies, protocols and procedures result in the resolution of civil disturbances.
6. An expectation that the city would employ crisis intervention strategies.
7. An expectation that the city would employ post trauma strategies for a victim's family and the community at large. (Policeman's family get post trauma services).
8. An expectation to identify and promote counseling/training for community members who are at risk.
9. An expectation that the community would have a Police Department oversight body.
10. An expectation of transparency from the Hastings Police Department.
11. An expectation that there would be trust and support between this community and the Police Department.
A Future to Avoid
Does Hastings want to be a community like Minneapolis and its police department? A police department with the power to be judge, jury and executioner. Does the city invite the resulting extraordinary cost and lawsuits in charting such a path?
1. Is the Hastings leadership in opposition to this community's vision?
2. Did the Hastings Police Department know Johnson-Lloyd and his functional challenges?
4. Was Johnson-Lloyd registered on Vitals App?
3. Did the department bring in a crisis team? Did they have time to do so?
5. Is this shooting an aberration or can the community expect this type of response in the future?
6. Do we want a community where leadership is silent, be it the mayor or police chief, leaders who consciously hide behind investigatory procedures and policies.
When our leaders are silent and while the victim's loved ones suffer in agony, we become suspicious, isolated, afraid and angry at the very people who are here to serve and protect.
How about a conversation instead of silence?