ER doctor Geoffrey Mount Varner MD, MPH, has seen the aftermath of what goes wrong when the police have altercations with civilians. In fact, after seeing the injuries pile up over the past two decades, he couldn’t remain silent any longer.
“My 11-year-old son is old enough to be killed by the police. As a father of an African American boy, I’m especially concerned with what could happen when black youth are stopped or pulled over by the police,” said Varner, who authored a book to address what one should do when pulled over or stopped by the police. He hopes parents read the book and encourage their children to follow these invaluable steps that will immediately start to save lives once used.
“Home Alive: 11 Must Steps to Surviving Encounters with the Police” empowers parents with survival skills to teach their children to make it home alive. It provides the necessary advice of what one should say or do in a vulnerable situation, especially for youthful black and Hispanic civilians.
Dr. Varner has seen many people come into the ER that have experienced violence. His 20 years of experience includes serving as the medical director and assistant fire chief for EMS in Washington DC and the chairman of Emergency Medicine at Howard University Hospital. He also served on the DC mayor’s EMS Task Force.
100,000-plus injuries were caused by law enforcement in 2013 that resulted in a hospitalization or a trip to the ER.
1,146 people died while in police custody in 2015.
Varner developed the “11 steps” after conducting hundreds of hours of research and interviews with police, lawyers, judges, district attorneys, and ordinary citizens. His life-saving strategies include the following:
- When stopped by the police never run, admit to anything, or make any sudden movements.
- Never keep your hands in your pockets.
- Only make brief eye contact with the police.
- Start crying and let the tears flow.
- Do not resist the police.
- When pulled over, instruct your passengers to be quiet and to follow your lead.
“The goal here is to help people live today to fight another tomorrow. Civilians must control the controllable,” said Varner. “On the scene, they don’t control the police. We need our citizens to survive the encounter – you and your child’s life depend on it.”