Former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick is offering free secondary autopsies through his nonprofit for the family members of anyone killed in a “police-related” incident.
Kaepernick is launching the initiative through his Know Your Rights Camp, which hosts a series of conferences aimed at younger people “to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems.” The activist said that offering free autopsies is a way to protect potential victims against the “prison industrial complex.”
“We know that the prison industrial complex, which includes police and policing, strives to protect and serve its interests at all costs,” Kaepernick said, according to ESPN. “The Autopsy Initiative is one important step toward ensuring that family members have access to accurate and forensically verifiable information about the cause of death of their loved one in their time of need.”
According to the Know Your Rights Camp website, the Autopsy Initiative’s goal is to “provide a second autopsy free-of-charge for victims’ families who have lost their loved ones due to a police-related death. The services offered through the Initiative include the completion of a second autopsy, disclosure of preliminary findings, and issuance of the final autopsy report.”
The website continued:
A police-related death occurs when an individual is harmed by police officers while using deadly force which results in the individual’s death. A police-related death includes in-custody deaths. In-custody deaths include deaths that arise during contact with law enforcement officers during arrest, pursuit, booking, transport, or incarceration. Therefore, pre-custody deaths are included within in-custody deaths.
Our Initiative includes a team of board-certified pathologists. Our board-certified pathologists will work objectively, efficiently and, diligently while relying on established forensic principles when conducting the second autopsy. Our pathologists will actively seek the truth to provide the victims’ families with the most medically sound cause of death.
The Autopsy Request may be completed by anyone with a close relationship with the victim, which may include the victim’s spouse, partner, relative, close friend, or lawyer. However, only the victim’s legal representative and/or other authorized individuals can legally authorize the autopsy.
Kaepernick’s racial-justice activism took off after he kneeled for the national anthem before a game in 2016. He escalated his efforts in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. In an essay several months later in October, Kaepernick called for the abolition of police and prisons.
“The central intent of policing is to surveil, terrorize, capture, and kill marginalized populations, specifically Black folks,” Kaepernick wrote. “In order to eradicate anti-Blackness, we must also abolish the police. The abolition of one without the other is impossible.”
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