A snickers bar is not a gun.
A hairbrush is not a gun.
A bible is not a gun.
These items come from a list of 23 objects that have been mistaken for guns by police officers in civilian shootings since 2001. This Is Not A Gun is a collection of objects and a series of participatory ceramic workshops that encourage participants to give presence to these objects, calling attention to their not-gun-ness by sculpting their shape in clay. This Is Not A Gun endeavors to carve out time and space to site institutional racism, police brutality, and violence within each participant's own body and story, without presuming a total understanding of this historically dense and complicated crisis. Each gathering upholds a non-judgemental space for sharing amongst anyone who participates. Co-led by Jade Thacker, artist Cara Levine, and founders of MNDFL Meditation POC group Jessica Angima and Jen Martínez-Lynch.
This was the third iteration of this event. The first workshop took place at the Tenderloin Museum in San Francisco, CA on March 30, 2017. The second workshop took place at the Santa Fe Art Institute on October 7, 2017. A fourth workshop took place at the Women's Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles, CA on December 16, 2017.
A pill bottle is not a gun.
Rumain Brisbon, 34, was fatally shot by a police officer in Phoenix Arizona on December 2, 2014 .
“...Police checked the license plate that the tipster provided and found it was registered to a resident in the 15400 block of North 25th Avenue, where there was also a pending report of a "loud music disturbance." The loud-music call was canceled, so the officer went to the SUV to ask questions of those inside, Crump said.
The officer said the driver, later identified as Brisbon, got out and appeared to be removing something from the rear of the SUV. The officer told Brisbon to show his hands, but Brisbon stuffed his hands into his waistband, Crump said. The officer drew his weapon and Brisbon ran toward nearby apartments, Crump said. A short foot chase ensued.
"Witnesses indicated to us that the suspect was verbally challenging to the officer," Crump said. Brisbon refused to comply with the officer's commands to get on the ground, and the two struggled once the officer caught up with him, Crump said.
"During the struggle, Brisbon put his left hand in his pocket and the officer grabbed onto the suspect's hand, while repeatedly telling the suspect to keep his hand in his pocket," he said. "The officer believed he felt the handle of a gun while holding the suspect's hand in his pocket."
A woman inside an apartment opened a door at that moment, and the officer and Brisbon tumbled inside, Crump said. Two children, ages 9 and 2, were in a back bedroom, he said.
The officer could no longer keep a grip on Brisbon's hand and, because he feared that the suspect had a gun in his pocket, fired two shots, Crump said.
The item in Brisbon's pocket turned out to be a bottle of oxycodone pills, he said…”
Read the full article here.
A sandwich is not a gun.
Vonderitt D. Myers Jr., 18, was shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer on October 8, 2014.
"...The officer had been driving when he saw three men and one of them began to run, the police said. He turned his vehicle and all of them began to run, the police said. After a pursuit, the police said, Mr. Myers fired three rounds with a stolen handgun toward the officer before the gun malfunctioned; the officer responded with 17 shots. The police did not release the officer’s name.
The police said they recovered evidence that showed Mr. Myers had opened fire, but family members disputed that and said he had been unarmed. He was carrying a sandwich, they said.
“The police are lying,” Joseph Cotton, Mr. Myers’s grandfather, said as he stood outside the family home on Thursday afternoon..."
Read a the full article here.
Sunglasses are not a gun.
DeCarlos Moore, 36, was fatally shot by police officer Joseph Marin in Overtown, Florida on July 5, 2010.
“...According to sources, Marin was with training officer Viona Browne when they mistakenly identified Moore’s car as stolen. The officers ordered Moore out of the car and asked him to come toward them. Moore reportedly obeyed, then turned around and hurried back to the car to reach inside for something.
After Moore emerged from the car with what was later determined to be sunglasses in his hands, Marin fired, shooting Moore in the head. Sources say no weapon was found in Moore's car…”
Read more here.
A toy truck is not a gun.
"According to the affidavit, a 23-year-old autistic man had ventured into the street outside the [assisted living] home, and Charles Kinsey, staff at the home, followed the patient in an attempt to bring him back inside. The autistic man sat down in the street and was playing with a silver toy truck. Passersby thought that may have been a gun and called police, according to the affidavit.
As armed officers made their way into closer position, Kinsey lay down on the ground with his hands in the air, yelling at police that there was no threat, according to cellphone footage of the incident. The autistic man was playing with this toy truck, which police believed may have been a firearm.
"All he has is a toy truck in his hands. A toy truck," Kinsey says in the video. "I am a behavior tech at a group home."
One officer about 15-20 feet away heard Kinsey's yelling and said over the radio to "use caution" because "the person advised that it's a toy." A minute later, that officer said over the radio that he had a visual and that the item did not appear to be a firearm. Shortly after that, Aledda shot three times, according to the affidavit..."
Read the entire article here.
An iPod is not a gun.
Reginald Dewayne Wallace, 40, was fatally shot by a police officer on March 12, 2010.
“Police said the man was unarmed, but he had a silver iPod that he allegedly stole… Fearing that the suspect was going to harm him and put him in imminent dange, Officer Shelton fired on the suspect…”
Read the entire article here.
A beer is not a gun.
Louis Jiles, 18, was shot and wounded by a Springfield, Massachusets police officer on July 6, 2008.
“...Police [officers Hill and Barton] saw Jiles drive through a red light on Oakland Street, activated the blue lights on their cruiser, and tried to pull him over.
Jiles, who had an open bottle of beer in the car as is under the legal drinking age, panicked and took off, according to Bennett.
The officers turned on their siren, gave chase, and caught up with on Kensignton Avenue, the district attorney said. Jiles then stopped his car, and was trying to dispose of the beer before police caught him. He reached into the backseat with a bottle in his hand, pulled down the back seat, and was trying to put the bottle in the trunk, said Bennett’s statement.
Police mistook the beer for a gun, and Hill shot Jiles.”
Read the entire article here.
See's candies and lavendar dosed water.