Monday, February 8, 2016, marks the one year anniversary of Natasha McKenna’s death. In February of last year, Natasha called 911 during a mental health crisis. She had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 12. Instead of providing her with mental health support, officers brought Natasha to Fairfax County Jail on an outstanding warrant. After being held in jail for seven days, Natasha—who weighed 130 pounds and was 5’4’’ tall—was hooded, shackled, and repeatedly tasered by officers attempting to move her to a mental health facility. Within minutes of being tasered, she stopped breathing. She died in the hospital seven days later — one year ago today.
A disturbing video showing Natasha’s brutal treatment at the hands of law enforcement has been available to the public since September, 2015. Fairfax County Sheriff Stacy Kincaid reported that her office released the video to demonstrate the “professionalism” and “restraint” exhibited by the officers who removed Natasha from her cell and tasered her to the point of unconsciousness. At the same time they released the video, a chief prosecutor declared that no criminal charges would be filed against the officers responsible for Natasha’s death.
Despite this horrific video and the total lack of accountability in Natasha’s case, her story has been met with relative silence from mainstream media and social justice groups. On the one year anniversary of her death, it’s time to stand up for justice. It’s time to #SayHerName.
Join us to ensure that the anniversary of Natasha’s death won’t be met with the same kind of silence. Take action and spread the word with us!
Raise awareness: Read and share the following items:
Add your name to the demands for substantive change: Sign Amnesty International’s petition calling upon the Department of Justice to open an expedited investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death and enact national guidelines for taser use.
Are you in the DC area? Join the local actions on February 8:Representatives from groups including Black Lives Matter DMV, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Northern Virginia, African American Policy Forum and Amnesty International USA will first hold a peaceful demonstration while handing out information and petitions outside the detention center, and later that evening will gather for a vigil at All Saints Episcopal Church in Alexandria.
WHAT: Demonstration of Remembrance for Natasha McKenna
WHEN: February 8, 2016; noon to 1:00 PM ET
WHERE: Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, 10520 Judicial Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030
WHAT: Vigil for Natasha McKenna
WHEN: February 8, 2016; 7:00 PM ET
WHERE: All Saints Episcopal Church Sharon Chapel, 3421 Franconia Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310
Spread the word on social media: Make your social media networks take notice using the hashtags #NatashaMcKenna and #SayHerName. Use AAPF’s #SayHerName Social Media Guide for background information and ideas!
The gross miscarriage of justice in Natasha McKenna’s case reminds us of the need to be vigilant in our calls to #SayHerName. Today, on the one year anniversary of her death, let’s honor her memory by redoubling our efforts to combat the systemic flaws that allowed Natasha to be treated as a threat to the status quo rather than a woman in need of compassionate support.
We must rededicate ourselves to uplifting her story. We must let the powers that be know that if we don’t get no justice, they won’t get no peace.
#SayHerName -- #NatashaMcKenna