I Want Someone Else To Call

CN: Police awfulness and mistreatment of a vulnerable person, intoxication, bodily injury.

A few years ago, when I was newer to my working-class Chicago neighborhood, I was walking along one of the busier streets in the early evening in nice weather. There were a lot of people out and about, going about their business. This neighborhood is the kind of place with a lot of small liquor stores and few grocery stores, but a fairly low rate of violent crime. The barber shop on the corner contains conversations in at least four languages at any given time, and the public high school that dominates the immediate area seems rowdy, but not violent.

As I headed down a block on one of the main roads I came upon an older brown-skinned man laying on the sidewalk, curled into a near fetal position. Several other people passed him, not unconcerned, but looking like they didn’t know what to do. He was right in the middle of the busy sidewalk, not tucked away as if he was sleeping intentionally. I stopped, knelt next to him, and asked if he was okay. I saw pretty quickly there was a mark on his face, like a bruise with a cut in the middle near his forehead. I thought maybe he’d gotten hit in the head.
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I Want Someone Else To Call