Danielle Jacobs, Autistic Woman Behind Viral Video Shot Dead, Killed by Mesa Police - Arizona

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Опубликовано 6 февраля 2016, 20:39
24-Year-Old Transgender Man Kayden Clark With Asperger's Killed By Arizona Police Weeks After Beginning Transition.Mesa PD: Officers not aware of victim’s mental illness in police shooting.
In December of last year, a 24-year-old autistic man named Kayden Clark uploaded a video to his YouTube channel in which he excitedly announced that his insurance would pay for his gender reassignment surgery. “I can breathe,” he said. “The anxiety’s gone.” Thursday afternoon, he was shot and killed by police in his Mesa, Arizona, home.

ABC 15 reports officers—who are now on administrative leave—arrived at Clark’s home after a call came in claiming he was threatening to kill himself, adding:

Police entered the home to try to find [Clark], and when they located [him, he] lunged at two officers with a knife, a police spokesman said. The officers feared for their safety and fired at [him], police said.
Though Clark—who had previously attempted suicide two years ago—is identified as a woman named Danielle Jacobs by ABC, several advocates for autism awareness have since responded to their report, claiming he was a man who “preferred” the name Kayden. The identification appears to be validated by Clark’s YouTube channel, whose five uploaded videos chronicle a transition process that was tragically cut short. (A study published last year revealed 41 percent of people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide.)
MESA, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) - Two officers who shot and killed a young woman coming at them with a knife weren’t aware she suffered mental illness, Mesa Police Detective Esteban Flores said at a news briefing Friday.

Another officer was in the process of retrieving a “less lethal option” from a patrol vehicle when Danielle Jacobs, 24, was shot and killed, Flores said.

One of the officers who opened fire was specially trained in crisis intervention.

Besides their service weapons, both officers were equipped with Tasers at the time, which they did not use, Flores said.

The victim's mother said Friday she was trying to make sense of what happened.

"My daughter died for asking for help," Jacobs' mom, Stacia, said Friday.

The shooting happened near Brown and the Red Mountain Freeway in East Mesa at around 11 a.m. after police received multiple calls about a suicidal woman.

[RAW VIDEO: Police briefing on deadly officer-involved shooting]

:Stacia Jacobs said her daughter was not posing a danger to the community.

"That she was in her own place. And regardless of what she was thinking, what she was doing, she wasn't posing a danger to the community. There has to be better way for law enforcement to respond and handle situations."

Flores said officers who were enroute had “no indication she was mentally ill. The only indication was she was going to hurt herself.”

"At that point, when we were responding, we didn't know who she was. Our information was she was going to hurt herself," Flores said.

He added officers had been at the home last year after Jacobs reported she being harassed over the Internet, Flores said.

In June, Jacobs posted a video that went viral on YouTube. In it, Jacobs is having what she described as a self-harm meltdown while her Rottweiler, Samson, attempted to help her out of it.

[RELATED: Viral video: Dog comforts autistic Tempe woman (June 17)]

[ORIGINAL VIDEO: Click/tap to watch the video Jacobs posted]

The 24-year-old said those meltdowns were due to Asperger's syndrome. She was diagnosed with it in 2013. It is a disorder on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum.

In Thursday's incident, officers were met at the door by the victim's friend, who let them inside.

"Two officers attempted to talk to Danielle through an open door in a hallway they were standing in and Danielle came to the door holding a large chef's-style cutting knife," Flores said. "They told Danielle to drop the knife. She lunged and extended the knife at the officers at a close distance."

Flores said the officer felt threatened and opened fire, killing the young woman.

The two officers have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

"We express out sympathies to Danielle's family and friends," Flores said.

"Whoever she was meant to be, that was taken, her mom said, wiping away tears.

She said she will always remember her daughter's "zany sense of humor."
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