According to a recently filed law suit, “L.G.” was handcuffed by a police officer, slammed to the floor, and pinned there for more thanhalf an hour, as he cried and yelled that he was in pain. The officer in question asked him “You ever been charged with a crime before? Well, you’re fixing to be.”
The crime in question? Spitting. Nothing more. Just spitting. In the end there was no arrest, but L.G. was severely traumatized. This event took place in September, 2018, in Statesville, North Carolina.
Oh, and did I mention that L.G. was an autistic 7-year-old? And that he was targeted in his special needs classroom, as two teachers looked on without intervening to help their student?
In Utah, an autistic 13-year-old with severe separation anxiety had a meltdown when his mom had to go back to work. She called the police to help get him to a hospital. She explained that he was autistic. She explained that he was unarmed.
And yet, they marched into the house, ordered him to “get on the ground” (great idea during a meltdown–*sarcasm*) and then shot him multiple times. He’s in the hospital with injuries to his intestines, bladder, should and ankle.
This is what comes of having “warrior” policing. It’s time the police start thinking of themselves as guardians of the people, not warriors. (see Seth Stoughton, “Law Enforcement’s ‘Warrior’ Problem” on the Harvard Law Review Forum). And it’s way past time for the police to learn what a meltdown really is and how to deal with it.