Salt Lake City Police Shot A 13-Year-Old With Autism. Now They Refuse To Explain Why.

By JEREMY STAHL SEPT 08, 20206:49 PM

On Friday, a Salt Lake City police offi­cer shot a 13-year-old autis­tic child sev­er­al times after his moth­er called 911 to ask for a cri­sis inter­ven­tion team to take him to the hos­pi­tal dur­ing a men­tal health episode.

Linden Cameron, who is white, is cur­rent­ly hos­pi­tal­ized with injuries to his shoul­der, ankles, intestines, and blad­der, accord­ing to a GoFundMe page his moth­er set up.

Cameron’s moth­er, Golda Barton, told local CBS affil­i­ate KUTV that she called the police to report that she need­ed a cri­sis inter­ven­tion after her son, who has Asperger’s, strug­gled with “sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety” at her need to return to work.

According to Barton, two police offi­cers came to her home, told her to wait inside, and then one of them shot Cameron repeat­ed­ly with­in five min­utes of arriv­ing after he fled

As KUTV report­ed:

[Barton] thought her son was dead and the offi­cers didn’t imme­di­ate­ly say if he was or was not dead. They hand­cuffed him, accord­ing to Barton. Additionally, she said she heard from some­one that the oth­er offi­cer could be seen grab­bing his own head in dis­be­lief for what had hap­pened. He said out loud, accord­ing to what the moth­er was told, “He’s just a child, what are you doing?”

The police have not released the name of the offi­cer involved in the shoot­ing, or made pub­lic the police report, or explained gen­er­al­ly why the offi­cer shot the child, or said if he or she would be charged or face any dis­ci­pli­nary action. The depart­ment said it would release addi­tion­al details with­in 10 busi­ness days, which is when local ordi­nances require body­cam footage be released. During a press con­fer­ence after the inci­dent, Salt Lake City police Sgt. Keith Horrocks seemed to blame the child for the shoot­ing.

Horrocks said that police were respond­ing to a call regard­ing “a vio­lent psych issue involv­ing a juve­nile male who had made threats.” He would not clar­i­fy who made the call or who was threat­ened by the 13-year-old, but he did allege that the threat was made with a weapon.

Given the threats of the weapon, they arrived in the area and made con­tact with this male,” he said. “That male fled on foot away from the address, and dur­ing a short foot pur­suit, an offi­cer dis­charged his firearm, strik­ing that sub­ject.”

But the 13-year-old was not found with a weapon, and his moth­er said she told offi­cers on the phone that her son did not have a weapon.

I said, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have any­thing, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and scream­ing. He’s a kid, he’s try­ing to get atten­tion, he doesn’t know how to reg­u­late,” she told KUTV.

The shoot­ing occurred as protests raged across the coun­try over the police killing of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York.* Prude, a 41-year-old Black man, was also in the mid­dle of a men­tal health cri­sis when police killed him. Like Cameron’s moth­er, Prude’s broth­er was the one who ini­tial­ly called 911 to get him help. It is not unusu­al for police to kill peo­ple with men­tal dis­abil­i­ties or ill­ness; the Washington Post esti­mat­ed that a quar­ter of peo­ple killed by police in the U.S. were in the throes of a men­tal or emo­tion­al cri­sis.

In her inter­view with the net­work, Barton repeat­ed­ly broke down cry­ing and said she did not under­stand why police had shot the boy.

He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tack­le him? He’s a baby. He has men­tal issues,” she said.

Editor’s Note; When we allow police to sim­ply shoot peo­ple tey deem dis­pos­able, this is the end result. For decades those dis­pos­ables were black and brown peo­ple.
Far too many white peo­ple remained silent because they fun­da­men­tal­ly believed their white skin is insu­la­tion against that sav­agery.
Unfortunately, white peo­ple are find­ing out that as Black peo­ple have tak­en to the streets to con­tin­ue to ham­mer home the point that far too many police offi­cers are killers, some of their white coun­ter­parts are awak­en­ing to the real­i­ty that they are not immune from that clear and present dan­ger.
It may already be too late to put the Genie back in the bot­tle, many argue, we are in the clutch­es of a police state.

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