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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.”

Related: Kid Cudi: Why Black Mental Health Matters

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.

Related: Black and Native Lives Must Matter Together


Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

  • Tito

    Abby, please stop making anything that isn’t about you and a front to your white and bland culture. Your American dream isn’t what your white supremacist parents prepared you for…..Get ready to become just another person. At least black and brown people don’t have thag savage and genocidal european gene…..but we will f-ck a karen up that is in the way of our liberation.

    Oct 11, 2020
  • Tito

    Abby is going to have to learn that something that isn’t about her isn’t in an affront to her…. but that she is not the center of the universe like her white supremacist parents taught her. she should consider herself lucky that black and brown people don’t carry the European genocidal Gene, but we will f*** a Karen up that is in the way of our liberation.

    Oct 11, 2020
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