It’s as if the police had no regard for Renee Davis’s mental condition.
A young, pregnant Native American woman, Renee Davis, was shot and killed last Friday by a sheriff’s deputy at her house on the Muckleshoot tribal lands in western Washington state, according to a Countercultural.com report.
Davis’ foster sister, Danielle Bargala, gives the account. Bargala told reporters that her 23-year-old sibling, who struggles with depression, called a friend for emotional support. Concerned, her friend called 911 which, in turn, dispatched an officer to Davis’s house at 6 p.m. to conduct a “wellness check.”
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Deputies say when they arrived on the scene, they found Davis, five months along in her fourth pregnancy, with a handgun and two of her small children, ages 2 and 3 respectively. Her third child, 5, was not present at the time, but visiting the home of a family friend.
Common sense tells us that some kind of altercation occurred between the time police arrived and when Davis was fatally shot. However, deputies, who gave a sparse official account on Friday, have yet to furnish the public with any further details.
Bargala finds the whole thing puzzling. She doesn’t remember Davis ever owning a handgun, but said she kept a hunting rifle. Either way, it’s likely that the only person in danger was Davis.
Davis came to live with her foster family while still in elementary school. In addition to working as a teacher’s aid in the national preschool program, Headstart, she participated in a fishery program and enjoyed outdoor work.
Although she enjoyed hunting, Bagala recalls that Davis was never harsh or violent with her kids.
“It’s really upsetting, because it was a wellness check,” Bargala said. “Obviously, she didn’t come out of it well.”
Davis’ family is now trying to determine who will get custody of her three kids.
Here at Wear Your Voice, we’ve reported on the fact that the criminalization of black bodies has been so thorough and is so embedded in the DNA of American society that black suspects are rarely, if ever, treated with the dignity, decency and care they warrant. That the only time our country chooses to acknowledge the existence of mental illness in the black community is when such recognition reinforces the logic of white supremacy. The same must be said of our Native American brothers and sisters, the abuse and disempowerment of which is and remains the lifeblood of American progress.