Don’t Call the Cops If You’re Autistic, Deaf, Mentally Ill, Disabled or Old

Life in the American police state is an endless series of don’ts delivered at the end of a loaded gun: don’t talk back to police officers, don’t even think about defending yourself against a SWAT team raid (of which there are 80,000 every year), don’t run when a cop is nearby lest you be mistaken for a fleeing criminal, don’t carry a cane lest it be mistaken for a gun, don’t expect privacy in public, don’t let your kids walk to the playground alone, don’t engage in nonviolent protest near where a government official might pass, don’t try to grow vegetables in your front yard, don’t play music for tips in a metro station, don’t feed whales, and on and on. Here’s another don’t to the add the growing list of things that could get you or a loved one tasered, shot or killed: don’t call the cops.

Sometimes it’s dangerous enough calling the cops when you’re not contending with a disability. Unfortunately, the risks just skyrocket when a disability is involved, especially if you are autistic, hearing impaired, mentally ill, elderly, suffer from dementia, disabled or have any other condition that might hinder your ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order.

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Show Notes

Steve Silberman, “The Police Need to Understand Autism,” The New York Times

Kent Erdahl, “Australian woman's death at hands of police called homicide,” USA Today

Shaun King, “Black Indianapolis man shot by cops after calling police to report robbery,” Daily News

Peter Eisler, Jason Szep, Tim Reid and Grant Smith, “Shock Tactics,” Reuters

David M. Perry and Lawrence Carter-Long, “Media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability,” Ruderman Family Foundation

Michael Burns, “Jury exonerates police for treatment of autistic man,” Greenville News

Cleve R. Wootson Jr., “Police used a Taser on a grandfather, who's now in intensive care. They say it was for his safety,” The Washington Post

Christian Boone, “Mom of Georgia Tech student shot by police speaks out,” Atlanta Journal Constitution

James Doubek, “Oklahoma City Police Fatally Shoot Deaf Man Despite Yells Of 'He Can't Hear,'” NPR

Stephen Greenspan, “The Preventable Death of Ethan Saylor,” Psychology Today

Bill Chappell, “North Miami Officer Is Arrested Over Shooting Of Therapist During Standoff,” NPR

Artemis Moshtaghian, “Dallas school police use handcuffs to restrain 7-year-old boy,” CNN

Russell Contreras, “Things to know one year after APD shooting of James Boyd,” Albuquerque Journal

Liam Stack, “N.C. Trooper Investigated in Fatal Shooting of Deaf Motorist,” The New York Times

Amiel Fields-Meyer, “When Police Officers Don't Know About the ADA,” The Atlantic

Wesley Lowery, Kimberly Kindy, Keith L. Alexander, Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, “Distraught People, Deadly Results,” The Washington Post

“Police immune over arrest of mentally ill woman,” Chicago Tribune

Brandy Zadrozny, “Protecting Your Mentally Ill Child From the Cops,” The Daily Beast

Tim Prudente, “Police Get Schooled On Special Needs Interactions,” The Baltimore Sun

Steve Silberman, “Making Encounters With Police Officers Safer for People With Disabilities,” The New York Times

Don’t Call the Cops If You’re Autistic, Deaf, Mentally Ill, Disabled or Old

Battlefield America: The War on the American People

Rutherford Institute

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  1. ekawAediW says:

    Cops are cowards.

  2. John Phillips says:

    Often for the sake of brevity we paint with a broad brush. I’m guilty of this in conversation and what I write. I have recently. However…

    I know a police officer. Have since we was fourteen years old.

    Fine lad with a BA in Business, but ended up a Deputy Police Officer for lack of opportunity in the field of business.

    His training involved a heavy dose of how to subjugate prisoners; the intent to establish dominance and compliance….mostly through force or threats of force.

    He astounded his superiors by time and time again shunning the training and opting for alternatives to a violence confrontations with the prisoners… resulting in compliance without force. He has many talents that have earned him respect on the force…among them common sense. He also continues to be “pressured” to be more like the other officers via many avenues; however, he persists in his philosophies.

    Example. There is a lot of oil and gas development (fracking) in the county requiring security. The developers instead of hiring security have opted to pay the department overtime for the officers to perform the task. An ugly avenue to influence.

    While this lad opted to ticket for speeding and other moving violations the oil-field workers traveling on county roads during the overtime, others in the department have found the cash most rewarding….thus influential.

    How we conduct ourselves within our chosen career fields is more important than what field is chosen. If we as individuals push for change within the institutions of employment we find ourselves in, then we are fighting the “good fight” and not just going along.

    This is where we make the changes we must make….with us as individuals, in our daily lives and chosen careers.
    All the Best

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