Donald Trump‘s former social media guru-turned campaign manager who used Facebook to nefariously target Black voters has been reportedly placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold in Florida over concerns he could kill himself. Brad Parscale, who ran Trump’s re-election campaign until he was replaced in June, reportedly had guns handy and was threatening to die by suicide.
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The 44-year-old who still works for Trump apparently barricaded himself in the Fort Lauderdale home he shares with his wife, who called the police and said “her husband was armed, had access to multiple firearms inside the house and was threatening to kill himself,” according to Local 10 news. The Washington Post reported that even though Parscale was armed and allegedly had additional guns he could use, police “safely negotiated for him to exit the home.” It was the kind of scenario that has many times resulted in deadly police violence when Black people find themselves similarly in need of help.
Details were immediately scarce and it was unclear what may have provoked Parscale’s behavior, which came hours before the New York Times’ bombshell report that Trump has largely avoided paying federal taxes for the better part of the past two decades and is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
According to the Post’s report, Parscale wasn’t happy he had been demoted. There were also “attacks from people who were questioning his behavior as campaign manager.”
Parscale lost his job as Trump’s re-election campaign manager but still remained on staff as a senior adviser for data and digital operations. He first worked as Trump’s social media director in 2016, back when he targeted Black voters with “dark posts” to diminish Black voter turnout for Hillary Clinton.
Dark posts didn’t appear in the sender’s Facebook news feed. Only the targeted Facebook users could see the message. Consequently, the posts were tailored to specific recipients without getting blasting to everyone. They could easily silo scores of people with one click and without any accountability.
In one message during the 2016 campaign, Parscale disseminated dark posts to certain Black voters to remind them about Clinton’s “super predator” comment in 1996, when she used the phrase to describe young Black males who she said were gang members selling crack cocaine.
Back in 2016, it was unclear if dark posts for political messaging would work. However, Parscale, who was first hired by Trump in 2009 as a website designer and media strategist before leading social media for the 2016 campaign, was certain that his tactic would “dramatically affect” turnout for Clinton.
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The way the police treated Parscale on Sunday stood in stark contrasts to how police have many times responded to Black people calling authorities for mental health wellness checks. In fact, there is a growing list of Black people suffering from mental illness who were killed by police after family members called law enforcement for help.
It was just about two months ago when police in Texas killed Damian Daniels, a military veteran who was shot twice in the chest in front of his newly purchased home after cops were dispatched there to perform a wellness check. Similar to Parscale, Daniels’ family called the police and asked them to encourage him to visit a VA hospital for help. Instead, the lawyer for Daniels’ family said, “sheriff deputies arrived and attempted to force Damian out of his home, before shooting and killing him in front of his house.”
Before that, police in Oregon killed Andre Catrel Gladen, who was legally blind and on medication for bipolar disorder, last year. His family said the cops should have suspected that he had mental health issues. In 2018, officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed Jarvis Randal, who was armed with a piece of glass, in a Florida mental health facility. Earlier that same year, sheriff’s deputies in San Mateo County, California were accused of using excessive force to apprehend Chinedu Valentine Okobi who had been walking in and out of traffic. Two deputies tasered Okobi multiple times to subdue and place him in handcuffs. His family said he was suffering from mental illness.