SHAUN KING: Damian Daniels - Say His Name

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I know there is a lot going on right now.

I know these past few weeks have been brutal as stories of police brutality continue to surface at a rapid pace.

I know there are so many names to remember, but I’m asking you to remember one more.

Sgt. Damian Daniels was a military veteran. He was a kind, brilliant Black man who was loved dearly by his friends and family. He suffered from PTSD and other mental illnesses, which, sadly, is extremely common among veterans.

On August 25, Damian was experiencing a severe mental health crisis. His family tried their hardest not to call the police. Understanding that their son was in need of emergency assistance, they contacted every other resource they could think of. They even called the Red Cross to see if they could send someone, anyone, to help their son. They understood that if they called 911, there was a good chance they would cause more harm than good and that is exactly what happened.

Damian was murdered in front of his home by San Antonio Police, while in the midst of a mental health crisis.

I am anti-war. I am strongly opposed to America’s involvement in international conflicts it seeks only to profit from, but that does not take away from the fact that this country does not treat its veterans with the care they are so desperately in need of.

Damian survived a war across the ocean, but was killed in his own country by the very people who were supposed to serve and protect him. As a Black man suffering from mental illness and in need of emergency assistance, he had no safe resources available to him.

American police have proven time and time again that they are in no way equipped to deal with mental health crises. They have no knowledge on how to de-escalate situations, or assist in any way beyond using excessive or lethal force. We need an alternative to 911 for mental health, substance abuse, traffic and damn near every other type of emergency, and we need it now.

On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun asks that you remember one more name, and join the fight for achieving justice.