• Sigrid Ellis

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    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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#JusticeforPhilando

Officer Yanez was found not guilty on all charges yesterday.

There is no justice for Philando Castile.

He died on live video as his girlfriend tried to console the officer who murdered her boyfriend, in the hopes that he would call 911.

Officer Yanez was not found guilty of even reckless discharge of a weapon, despite the presence of a four-year-old child in the back seat of the car.

I watched Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the protest last night for an hour or so. I wished I could have gone and marched.

What would justice be? What do I want to happen now? What on earth do we all do with a system that, after Graham vs Connor, enshrines into law the right of law enforcement officials to murder anyone who scares them?

That’s not hypothetical. I’ve been trying to figure out the answer all of yesterday and this morning.

I think there are three basic approaches:

1) Retrain law enforcement to not be reflexively, racistly, terrified of black men.

2) Make shooting citizens cost-prohibitive for police departments and cities.

3) Disarm law enforcement.

Looking at item three, first, it seems that having a large contingent of police officers carry ONLY non-lethal ordinance might help. There are still problems with the use and abuse of tasers, chemical spray, etc., but it might help prevent murder.

If we as a society charge and prosecute as many instance of police violence as possible, it may become too costly for cities to bear, and police departments may be forced to change their policies and culture out of self-defense.

If law enforcement training focused *at least half* of its hours on deescalation, anti-racism, and how to not be a dick to your citizenry, it might help establish new, less lethal, reflexive actions under stress.

There’s no reason we can’t do all three.

(This letter sent to my local government this morning.)

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