I was actually supposed to read this a while ago. (Sorry folks.) But here's the book: Artists against Police Brutality, an anthology from Rosarium. I got access to a PDF in order to write this review.
It's honest in a way I appreciate: the introduction tells you, straight out, that the project was born from (completely justified) anger. The mix of genres is good, because different people interact best with different formats, different kinds of stories. Me, I like words. And there are pieces here which are told as paragraphs of black text on a white background. Graphic narratives, combining pictures with words, are also great. There are plenty of those. Comics. It calls itself a comic book anthology. This is true. It is. (That doesn't mean it's what most people think of when they hear "comic book anthology. But that may have more to do with the idea of comics as somehow less mature than it does with the reality of stories told in graphic format.)
The family portrait was an emotional piece to look at. They're ... not a living family. They're a family tied together by the fact that they were all killed by police: John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Eric Carner, Michael Brown, Carry Ball Jr., Amandou Diallo, Tanisha Anderson, Mirriam Carey, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones. (Read their names again. How often does the narrative ignore the people who are being killed?)
And then I go on: Family stories about uncles and fathers who were killed, personal stories of getting "lucky" by way of not being dead, fiction, memoir, satire. There are essays, connecting history to events to patterns and back around to events. Show the patterns: this was never an isolated incident.
One of my favorite lines comes from Barbara Brandon-Croft: "The media shoots film ... the police have bullets." Think about it next time someone tries to blame media for people not trusting the police. Who has the bullets here?
One story calls out the problematic white liberal. (Hi. I'm white.) "Colorblind" racism is a problem. Talking about a problem that already exists does not somehow bring that problem into existence. It was already there. We need to look at ourselves, and to listen to what the people we claim to help are actually saying. (And before anyone can quote MLK out of context, remember what he said about the white moderate.)
The story of Reginald Lawson is mentioned, too. He is a black autistic man, a teen at the time. He was, eventually, transferred to a "treatment" facility, which... I don't know if that's an improvement over jail. I know that's still being locked up. The person writing about his case is the mother of a black teen. She says her son also has Aspergers, also loves hoodies, could also be seen as a threat for the ways he is different. She says she has read the work of famous autistic people and gives a list. But those authors are all white, and race matters. Their experience is not the experience of her son. (Which is very true. There's a reason that All the Weight of Our Dreams is a thing.) (Also, while I very much can't speak to intersections of race and autism, I feel pretty confident saying that you should disregard her advice re: contacting Autism Speaks. They don't so much help as make statements about stuff other people got done in which they make it look like they helped.)
Continuing on, we meet a superhero who catches bullets before they hit people who, as people have the chance to find out, were all innocent. None of them even did what the officer tried to shoot them for. Another story speaks to domestic violence from a father who is a cop. There's a science fiction narrative set in outer space which (very intentionally) parallels race relations and the history of slavery in the U.S.
Artists against Police Brutality is not an easy read. It is an important read.