October 14, 2013

Can Special Needs Parents Trust Cops?

(Trigger warning: abuse of power, murder of disabled people, self-harm)

There have been some pretty horrible stories courtesy of American law enforcement lately. The first one concerns an Autistic teenager. An undercover cop befriended him, making the cop his first and only friend, and then pressured him to buy marijuana. After the poor boy finally caved (the cop demanded he buy him pot over 60 times before he did, and the boy started self-harming under all the pressure), the cop had him arrested.
What a waste of time and tax payer's money. Many other children were also targeted in this "operation" and the majority of them special needs.
Remember, this is only one story we're hearing about because the parents had the resources to fight this in court. For every story we hear, there are many, many more hiding in shame and silence.

I'm not sure why law enforcement is so short on work that they need to spend their time setting up disabled people. Isn't there something more productive they could do with their time?

The second story brings me to tears every time I think about it, but it's a story that needs to be heard: a man with Down's Syndrome was killed by off-duty police officers because he did not leave a movie theatre when asked. He had watched the movie once and wanted to stay and watch it again. His aide was with him and was working to calm him down and escort him out. However, some off-duty cops decided they weren't moving fast enough, so they restrained him and killed him. Apparently, the last words out of a man who idolized police were, "call my mom...it hurt."
Meanwhile, the cops still have their jobs and are living their lives.

There is just such a horrible lack of understanding concerning disabilities. I'm not saying that people with disabilities should get a free ride - if they are really dealing drugs or not paying for movies, then they need to be held responsible for those things - but the way these issues were handed should not have gone to the extremes of jail time and death.

It terrifies me to think of my son growing older and possibly being a target to the people who are supposed to protect us. What if someone starts yelling at him, tells him to put his hand up, but he doesn't react quickly enough or at all? What if he runs instead, out of fear? Or curls up on the ground in a ball? Will he be shot and killed because of that?

When someone doesn't react or act exactly as you expect, it doesn't make them dangerous, it makes them different. Everyone needs to realize this.

UPDATE: Ethan's family is now suing and hoping for a real court case.

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