“The police shot Mario.” Nothing after that is a blur. Each disgusting step is glaringly clear as We sit here two years later. Watching the police and TBI speak to the news and each other and treat the family as if we didn’t exist plays on the loop repeatedly.
Within hours of pronouncing D’Mario Perkins dead they were already telling the world he was suicidal, a criminal and aggressive; yet they hadn’t talked to the family. D’Mario’s bullet-riddled car was strewn across the news, his family’s pain and rage made a backdrop for baseless presumptions for the cameras.
By the morning news, they had located a mugshot of D’mario and some portion of his record but would not release the names of the officers or footage of their body cams. He was vilified in the news while these officers were coddled and protected. We watched as people went from outrage to “well he was a criminal”.
As a family, we sought answers, support, and guidance. We were stiff-armed for a year. One officer has resigned, the incident faded to indifference for most and we are still left hollow. What was a poorly, healing wound was once again snatched open when D’mario’s autopsy was released? Again, there was no forewarning. New unchecked information but no answers and no insights for the family.
We do not know how to stop the fatal interactions between police and young black men. But, we do not have to tolerate the after-death smear campaigns and cover-ups.
Immediate termination of officers
No statements until family notifications
No statements for 24 hours
No updates until the family are briefed
Do not release an involved officer’s on-scene statement as fact
Protect the victim’s information the same as you do officers
Provide the family a contact
Offer the family third party mental health support at the department's expense
Respite child/care for six months
All incidents should trigger an external investigation into improving standard operating procedure in these cases
An external tribunal should investigate the case along with other agencies, a tribunal should be made up of both professional and laypeople.
Retraining or “failure to comply” early retirements for secondary officers involved in lynchings
6 months of mental health therapy for all officers involved in lynchings
GoFundMe for Purple Sanctuary