US News

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

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