On Sunday February 28th, Buffalo New York lost India Cummings, a 27 year old black woman who was taken into police custody on February 1st and hospitalised a full 16 days later, even though evidence and common sense suggests that she needed urgent physical and mental care from day one. So far, the media has displayed no real humanistic concern for Cumming’s life- with headlines portraying her as an ”inmate,”and a “carjacker”- and no journalistic integrity in questioning the implications, circumstances, and police institution surrounding her death. The Erie County Holding Center, with its habitual lack of transparency, has a documented history of suspicious deaths of persons caged there. The time to disrupt this violent reality is past due.
India took a synthetic drug and became mentally distressed and unstable. She reached out for help and instead was arrested and restrained,detained, and denied medical treatment. India was only released when it became clear that she was dying. How can the Holding Center’s decision to release India when they did, be read as anything other than their attempt to evade liability, for it was not an attempt at saving her life. India did not belong in a cell (no one does). That the police reacted to her obvious mental distress by stacking up charge after charge, makes it clear that they function to make a case against and assert power and brute force over black bodies. It’s important to note that the police cannot respond in any other way, because they are not for the people- their history and the history and present realities of this country dictates that they can never be.
We are saddened and outraged that this happened to India, that she wasn’t embraced and protected by a society capable of treating her distress with compassion, instead of deadly force. Please say India’s name. Come out and demonstrate for her and against police and detention this Thursday March 3rd at 5:00 pm outside of the Erie County Holding Center, 40 Delaware Avenue. To support the family with legal and medical costs, go to https://www.gofundme.com/tzqyfgac .