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Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Protest in Utah

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between police and autistic people.  Police officers need training to respond appropriately.  When they do not, things get out of hand. A recent incident in Salt Lake City is getting national attention.
 Ashley Imlay at The Deseret News:
When 14-year-old Gabe Smith learned from his parents Saturday that a 13-year-old boy on the autism spectrum was shot and injured by police last week while having a crisis, it hit close to home.

“I felt pain, felt physical pain. I felt like I was having a heart attack. It just hurt, and I ignored it the best I can,” recalled Gabe, who is also on the spectrum.

The news brought back his own memories.

“At my school, when the police officer took me down when I was upset and hitting my head against a window, (he) grabbed my arm and pushed me on the ground and held me for five minutes, I remembered that,” he said.

That’s why the family showed up for a small but emotional rally Saturday in support of Linden Cameron, the 13-year-old who was shot and injured by police.

About 40 people gathered in front of the Ogden Municipal Building to speak against police brutality and call for understanding and compassion for those with mental illness and disabilities. Some of the ralliers were also members of the Black Lives Matter movement in Utah.

During the rally, a few carried signs with slogans such as: “You have no authority to shoot a child,” “Crisis management not cops,” “Justice for Linden Cameron, we stand with you.”

On Sept. 4, after police came into contact with Linden in the area of 500 South and Navajo Street (1335 West), the boy ran from officers. A short time later, shots were fired. Salt Lake Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks told reporters at the scene that night that the boy “had made threats to some folks with a weapon,” but also stated he did not believe any weapon was recovered from the scene.