Militant Journalism

Death of Jaylen Brown: Struggle for truth continues vs. Duquesne, Pittsburgh police

On July 21 an article published by Pittsbugh local news channel, WTAE, seemed to signal that the demands by Dannielle Brown, the mother of Jaylen Brown, were met by Duquesne University. Immediately people online began celebrating that the hunger strike is over and that Dannielle could finally go home.

Read more about Dannielle Brown’s struggle for justice here

Dannielle posted her own statement cautioning the celebration, because
despite the misleading headline, the fight is still not over. The fight will continue, and Dannielle, still driven for the truth, will continue her hunger strike until Duquesne actually steps up to hold themselves accountable and allows for a full access investigation, with full transparency beyond simply disclosing the completed police report. This includes access to all, and any additional if needed, information, people, records, data and resources both Duquesne and the Pittsburgh police used to conduct their own investigations. The cops cannot be trusted to investigate themselves, and Duquesne’s own lawyer who led their investigation surely cannot be trusted to be without bias.

In Duquesne’s carefully worded statement they assert that their “Highly trained Public Safety Officers” (Cops) are already trained in crisis intervention and de-escalation practices. If this is true, then why did Jaylen die? There were four people capable of intervening and preventing Jaylen from allegedly throwing a chair and then himself out the window. Not one of these “Highly trained Public Safety Officers” did anything to stop him, claiming he acted too quickly.

But this betrays the fact that they were aware that this was a mental health crisis they were responding to, and they should have been prioritizing his safety and de-escalating the situation. The handling of this mental health crisis is nothing short of negligence.

Duquesne must first understand that the actions of their campus cops were negligent at best, if the narrative provided by the lawyer of the University and the Pittsburgh police is to be believed, and that there were many steps that could have been taken, such as the use of body cameras, that would have helped hold their officers accountable. Because there were no body cameras the only story we have is the one provided by Duquesne’s lawyer and the police report.

By providing the story given by the lawyer, Duquesne insists they are being transparent. But Dannielle knows that this fight can be won, and with a unifying tone, stressed that “Community is winning!” after gesturing to the large show of support by the Pittsburgh community, who have been camping with her and keeping her company at Freedom Corner. The appetite for justice continues unsated until we receive the truth!

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