Donald Trump‘s former social media guru-turned campaign manager who used Facebook to nefariously target Black voters has been hospitalized in Florida over concerns about suicide. Brad Parscale, who ran Trump’s re-election campaign until he was replaced in June, “had guns and was threatening to harm himself” Sunday afternoon, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Parscale’s wife called Fort Lauderdale police, which responded and took her husband to the hospital the type of encounter that has resulted in deadly police violence when Black people are the ones in need of help.
Details were immediately scarce and it was unclear what may have provoked Parscale’s behavior, which came 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.
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, which makes sense since he first worked as Trump’s social media guru in 2016. That was 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. He very well may have been hard at work devising a scheme to diminish the Black vote this year before his hospitalization on Sunday.
The way the police treated Parscale stood in stark contrasts to how police have many times responded to Black people who call 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. Like with 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.”
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 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.