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US police shoot a child with autism

American Golda Barton did not know that calling the police to intervene to help her autistic son might end up with several bullets, according to a video tape released by the police two days ago, which provoked angry reactions.

Details of the strange and painful incident indicate that the boy’s mother, Linden Cameron, called the Salt Lake City Police Department (the capital of Utah) on September 4 asking them to come to help her 13-year-old autistic son, and said he was “out of control” and that she wanted him. To go to the hospital.

Before the accident, the mother explained her son’s condition to the officers, saying, “He is terrified when he sees the police badge and automatically thinks that you will kill him and he must defend himself in some way.”

She noted that the boy “does not like the police at all” after a law enforcement officer shot her father in January.

A number of officers arrived at the house to fetch the boy, but he ran to the backyard and across the neighborhood, while the officers chased him and broke through the wooden fence in an attempt to arrest him. Through the video, one of the officers could be heard shouting, “Lie down on the ground now,” without regard to his condition.

The boy seemed to be defying orders and continuing to run down an alley, and after a short time 12 gunshots were heard and the victim fell to the ground after they ordered him to show his hands to suspect he was carrying a weapon, while there was no indication that he had a weapon.

“I don’t feel well,” said the boy, wounded and lying on the ground, adding, “Tell my mother that I love her.” And his lawyer said that he had “a hole in his organs and broken bones.”

Concerns and investigations

The shooting raised concerns about how law enforcement officers would deal with people with mental health problems, and although the officers had some training in this area, they were not specialized in crisis intervention.

The local newspaper “Salt Lake Tribune” reported that the boy was still in hospital and had difficulty speaking because of the pain, and Police Chief Mike Brown said on Monday that they would investigate what happened.

“We are facing a psychological crisis in this country. We want to be partners with those who provide mental health services. As a society, we need to find a way forward,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

“Often times, our officers are called in to deal with these difficult problems that are not often of a criminal nature,” he continued. The police published a video of the incident as part of the city’s policy in place regarding such cases.

Source : Al-Jazeera + Deutsche Welle + American Press

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