Police brutality in this society is at a fever pitch this summer, especially in the month of August. A new movement was borne in Ferguson. MO after the killings of teenager, Mike Brown as well as the killings of Eric Garner, John Crawford and Ezell Ford by law enforcement. Though these men have the fact that they were Black and unarmed in common, the police’s (what appears to be) excessive force has not discriminated. The deaths of an unarmed Hispanic man in Pennsylvania and an uanarmed White man in Dallas is proof. To close out the turbulent month is a tragic story coming out of Ottawa, KS where 18-year-old White, mentally ill, Joseph Jennings met his demise in a hail of what looks to be 24 shots from police officers’ guns on Saturday night.
Recently, Jennings had made attempts on his own life due a condition that caused him to have seizures. In fact, the police were already acquainted with Jennings when they answered calls about his suicidal attempts. On Saturday, police were called to Oschelin’s Hardware store in Ottawa by callers who were concerned about a man (Jennings) walking around (like Mike Brown in Ferguson) with a gun. Some are saying he had a BB gun (similar to John Crawford’s story), while others are saying they aren’t sure. Nevertheless, William Bruton, Jennings’s foster father, says he knew his son was on a trip to Walmart and the complaints came during his walk back. “He was walking back and they said that they had a complaint and stuff on him out here making a scene,” Bruton told KMBC-TV Kansas City.
Witness, Houston Harris tells, “As I was looking, they kept getting closer. They pulled the guns out. They kept getting closer and closer. You could hear them tell him to, ‘Get down, get down.'” Bruton recalled, “By the time I got to my son, he maneuvered away from me. He went up toward the cop, he done something with his hand and about 15 to 16 cops shot rounds off on him, in his chest, his legs, everything.”
Jennings’s aunt, Brandy Smith, says that police refused to let her attempt to intervene and calm her nephew. “I never thought it would hit this close to home,” said Smith. “My condolences go out to the victims of the Ferguson incident. I’m living it, too. The overkill and the police department not knowing how to handle those with disabilities.”