By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
His name was Osaze Osagie, but everyone who loved him just called him Ozzy and everyone who knew him seemed to love him. He had such a peaceful way with the world around him. I rarely saw him without that gentle smile on his face. You could tell he was not like ‘normal’ people and not just because he was far kinder than those bestowed with that loaded label. Like me, Ozzy was different, the ‘normal’ world calls it mental illness. I got to know him at my local psych rehab and quickly found myself enchanted by his easy going sense of humor and borderline Zen-like demeanor. He looked like a hybrid of Hannibal Buress and the Dalai Lama, which isn’t to say he didn’t have his bad days. When he did, it was well understood that he liked to be left alone, to sit quietly in another room until his calmer qualities overcame his demons. But even at his worst, Ozzy couldn’t harm a fly, he might hurt himself, but no one else.
Ozzy was my friend, and two weeks ago Ozzy was murdered, the latest mentally ill person of color to be senselessly slaughtered by our increasingly trigger-happy police state. They claimed it was ‘self-defense’, but don’t they always. There’s a lot of things that are still unknown about my friend’s murder and sadly many of those things will likely remain unknown, lost in the fog of a murder investigation in which the investigators are fellow murderers. But here is what we do know; Ozzy’s father called the police to check in on his son’s apartment after he came to believe he was off his meds and may be a threat to himself or others. The police, plural, kicked in his door and put four bullets into his fucking body. The coroner has ruled his death a homicide.
Among other dangerous weapons, the police were armed with a mental health warrant, a sheet of paper that rendered Ozzy’s rights to privacy irrelevant because of his second class status as a mentally ill person. The police claim he had a knife, even if this is true, they had guns, they had tasers, they had training in dealing with mentally unstable individuals and they had him outnumbered and surrounded. They invaded his property and they shot to kill. There appears to have been little attempt to talk with Ozzy or to just give him the fucking space he needed while checking in on him. The very fact that the police were awarded the right to invade his property and call anything they did afterwards ‘self-defense’ is absurd. If Ozzy had a knife, he was standing his ground against a state sanctioned invasion of his basic rights as a human being. But Ozzy’s rights din’t fucking matter because Ozzy was mentally ill. Ozzy wasn’t ‘normal’ like the fucking animals in blue who lynched him, so Ozzy was disposable.