Police Shot a Black Autistic Teenager Who Was Upset About Household Chores, Instead of Deescalating

  • by: Care2 Team
  • recipient: Officials in San Bernardino County, California
Ryan Gainer was a 15-year-old kid with autism in San Bernardino County, California. Like many kids, he wanted to play video games instead of doing his household chores one day. When his parents said no, he became distraught. As a kid with autism, he struggled to regulate his emotions, and was in need of mental health support at a moment like this.

Instead, police showed up. And within 7 seconds, they chose to shoot him three times and kill him.

Sign the petition to demand justice for this child, who the police fatally shot!

Then, witnesses claimed they saw police officers simply stand around for five minutes watching the teen bleed out, lying on the driveway, before they finally provided care.

"The autistic community has seen far too many cases of law enforcement profiling, targeting, and using excessive, sometimes deadly force on Black autistic people," said Zoe Gross, the advocacy director at a nonprofit called the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

The local sheriff's department knew Ryan's family and were aware that had autism. As the family's lawyer clearly explains: "Once [officers] typed up the address, it should have clearly shown this was somebody that had some mental health issues at times. They should have used deescalating techniques." That includes talking to kids and those struggling with mental health challenges "using the skills they learned in the basic police academy."

But that didn't happen. Instead, his family watched this beloved 15-year-old boy suffer a traumatic, violent death. Body camera footage from that day shows their horror at what unfolded, with his mother crying out in shock: "Why'd you shoot my baby? You could have just Tasered him. Why did you have to shoot him?"

No child should be killed - especially not a child who's simply trying to figure out how to regulate large emotions that they're unsure of how to handle. Officials in San Bernardino County must conduct an investigation now! Sign the petition.
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