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Help an Indigenous Victim of Police Brutality Heal

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Content warning: Graphic descriptions of anti-Indigenous racism, ableism, classism, and police brutality, including graphic photographs of injuries.

Joshua Nixon is my Indigenous brother with Autism who lives in poverty and is the victim of police brutality in Stratford, Ontario. Police violence has caused Joshua great suffering and has exacerbated the negative impacts of the trauma he already experiences related to Indigenous intergenerational trauma, poverty, ableism, and racism. 

In 2015, one particularly violent encounter with the Stratford police happened when Joshua walked across the train tracks on his way home from work, which white Stratford residents do frequently. The police officer stopped and demanded Joshua's attention while he was wearing headphones and had done nothing wrong. Joshua also has Autism, so he got confused, and he didn't give the police the attention they demanded. The officers quickly approached him even though he posed no threat and is non-violent. Then, they grabbed him, tackled him to the ground, punched him in the head with closed fists, and pressed his face and body into the gravel with excessive force. The incident of police brutality left Joshua with:
- Facial and skull lacerations
- A concussion
- A black and bleeding eye
- Broken Beats headphones he purchased with his own money, which people with Autism rely on to prevent sensory overload
- Injuries that a doctor didn't attend to until after he spent several hours at the police station. The doctor failed to properly diagnose Joshua with a concussion during the first visit, and he didn't clean his wounds. In fact, the doctor's notes shockingly said that Joshua was "totally fine." A second doctor's visit revealed the concussion.  The photos below show the state the doctor and the police sent Joshua home in
- A resist arrest charge officers laid against him, despite the fact that he was never under arrest
- $1,090 in Legal Aid fees to fight the charge
- A drop of the charge, but a judge's suggestion to meet with the police to learn how to "cooperate and interact" with them
- Long-term trauma and post-traumatic stress 
- A chronic fear of walking places and a huge sum of money spent on cabs to avoid interacting with the police
... All of this violence occurred due to an alleged violation of the Railway Safety Act ... The police response was extremely disproportionate, and it highlighted systemic racism and ableism in policing. 

85% of the proceeds will go towards Joshua and his financial, physical, and emotional healing journey.

15% of the proceeds will go towards local Indigenous-specific programs and events to help fill a concerning gap in services and safe spaces for local Indigenous folks. 

How will your donation help Joshua?
1) Cover the Legal Aid costs he had to pay to get the court to drop the resist arrest charge he faced in 2015.
-> $1,090.
2) Cover the cost of a new pair of noise-cancelling Beats headphones.
-> Approximately $300-$400.
3) Cover long-term therapy costs.
-> The average therapy session costs approximately $100 for people who don't have benefits, which my brother doesn't. $100 x 26 (one therapy session every other week for one year) = $2,600. 
4) Retroactively cover cab money he spent to avoid walking places, including to and from work, so he could avoid interacting with the police.*
-> The average cab ride cost is $11. $11 x 250 (50 cab rides per year since 2015, which is actually an underestimate of how many cabs he's taken since the attack) = $2,750.
Total: $6,840

Several racist police incidents have occurred against my siblings in Stratford. In the past, we didn't have the emotional energy, time, and funds to continuously fight the harmful impacts of police profiling and brutality. However, I have that energy now,  thanks largely to the current Black Lives Matter protests, the increase in the public consciousness about police brutality and anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, and the increase in the public's empathy for victims of police violence and intergenerational Indigenous trauma.

Thank you so much for your empathy and support. I also encourage local Stratford residents to join me in my fight for police accountability and reform.

*Please note that Joshua doesn't take cabs because he's too lazy to walk - he used to walk everywhere and rarely spent his money on cabs before the attack. His previous workplace was also all the way across town from our house (before it recently abruptly closed), and Stratford Public Transit is unreliable. Further, no one in my family drives except my mom because of the trauma we experienced as kids when someone we love was hit by a speeding car, which inflicted a traumatic brain injury on them. Joshua witnessed the incident.



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Stratford Police Accountability and Reform
Stratford, ON

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