The SFPD Beating of Musa Fudge Highlights Why List of Demands Must Go Deeper Than Systems Stakeholders

PNNscholar1 - Posted on 22 September 2015

Leroy Moore

There are three arenas that I’m focusing my demands to


In The Home


In The Community and


In The Political arena 


You notice I didn’t mention police because since the 80’s when I first began advocacy about police brutality against people with disabilities I and other activists have been making recommending and/or demanding repeatedly to three stakeholders: 1) The police, 2) the media and 3) lawmakers and we have seen some changes but not enough to secure justice and safety for Black disabled people. 


I want to bypass this group and speak directly to you, not with blame about the incident outside of the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. However, after reading/listening to this, I want each one of us to imagine that Mr. Musa Fudge (the Black homeless man with a prosthetic leg that was brutalize thy SFPD in Aug of 2015) was in your family and in your community and imagine that he is a little Black boy with one leg, how would you raise him, how would the community hold him as a child and now as a grown man with a disability?  Would he be an important part of the family and community?  Would his voice be heard?  Would he see himself in the community?  Would he be taught about his history as a Black disabled boy and now as a man? We, in the home and in the community must answer these questions for not only for him but for future generations. Long before the wounds from police brutality, Mr. Fudge and many other disabled Black people have deep pain with open wounds and those wounds might have come from the home and community.


So today my demands go further than a quick band-aid, a toothless policy or another four year grant cycle or begging corporations like Twitter to do some sensitivity training or more money to train police, it goes to the heart of the places we all treasure, the home and community.  As we grow older, a place that becomes our second home, institutions from schools to non-profits to political arenas aka our jobs.  In all of these areas from home to community to institutions all need a heavy dose of how to not only live but strive together. I know it sounds lofty but we are not going anywhere so we must learn, we must not leave it up to institutions to teach us about everything.  We must teach in our homes, opening our doors to the knowledge of community scholars. We must hold institutions accountable by using the political and legal arenas to ensure that they follow through on what we, the community, propose. Lawmakers must write and implement laws that reflect the needs and issues as described by affected communities and the courts must uphold the laws.  When this does not happen we must use our family/community power in the courts and in the vote on the people we put in the positions of power and decision making.


Many times activists think that there is only one way for sweeping change and that is new policy.  We have become a country of laws, even laws for common sense.  What we see is that initially many laws leave people out and there is need for amendments.  If we are going to commit to this notion of unity for change, then communities and families should have success by demanding the law is followed. In bringing justice for Musa and other people with disabilities who are abused by police, especially homeless folks, The Homeless Bill of Rights, and the new AB 953 which is written to halt racial profiling by law enforcement, and was amended to include people with disabilities, are the tools for justice. 


Knowing that many of our services and advocacy now comes from non-profits.  We must fight to make certain that services and empowering space for Musa and me be inclusive to all Black/Brown people with disabilities.  That includes the good work that has been happening for Black/Brown men and women from the NAACP, to local incentives for Black/Brown youth to adults. These organizations and initiative must open their doors to their disabled brothers and sisters. And we must ask why Black national organizations and political leaders haven’t reached out to the National Black Disability Coalition (the only national Black disability organization) and recognized Black disabled activists?  This question is even more staggering knowing that Black disabled youth and adults are highly at risk to experience violence.  However, at the same time we must not only work in the non-profit sector but we need to be critical and call non-profits out when they are not doing anything but collecting a paycheck on our backs of poor Black/Brown people with disabilities.  We can start locally here in the Bay by asking these programs how we can help them be more inclusive or from economic justice, start our own group.  


We must break the usual cycle when it comes to the one size fits all solution toward the issue of police brutality against people with disabilities. That is more funding to the police for training and we must switch our conversations form police to our community groups like Idriss Stelley Foundation and more.  We can demand more non-grant money, media and awareness to go to cultural projects like Krip-Hop Nation who have a record doing cultural work around police brutality against people with disabilities and many others.  We can support the National Black Disability Coalition’s work around implementing Black Disability Studies at colleges and universities and their work in the community creating advocacy and cultural outlets to Black families and Black disabled people.  Can you imagine if Musa and other Black disabled victims of police brutality grew up with Black disability courses, books, movies, art and music on a local and national level in popular media?  As street activists in this fight against police brutality can start and continue to ask, are our rallies accessible, is the disabled community represented not only in your rallies but on the stage, on your media, in your talking points and are the politics of disability justice practice implemented in social justice left and their work before and during a movement?


Yes these demands can’t be answered in a day, week, month or year and I know I might be long gone before seeing these demands becoming a part of our everyday lives.  We can not only begin, but for many of us we are continuing the work.   All I’m saying is to make sure that we don’t feel alone in this work and think and come up with solutions that are outside of the box...



By Leroy F. Moore Jr.

Poor Magazine Columnist and Founding Member of The National Black Disability Coalition

Friday, August 28, 15


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