Psychology/Psychiatry

Another Fatal Shooting Highlights Poor Police Handling of Mental Health Crises

Viral video star shot to death in Arizona when police respond to suicide attempt.

|

Kayden and Samson
Facebook

This weekend saw yet another lesson showing why Americans often don't—and often shouldn't—call 911 to deal with a mental health crisis. A young transgender man with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) was a brief viral hit over the summer over a video show how his emotional support dog assisted him when he was having a meltdown and hurting himself.

The man, Kayden Clarke, 24, (referred to in some stories as Danielle Jacobs—Clarke had just recently begun his transition apparently) is now dead, shot by police who been called to his home in Mesa, Arizona, by people who were concerned about a possible suicide attempt. He had apparently sent out some emails asking for somebody to take care of Clarke's dog should something happen to him.

According to police, a team of officers showed up to Clarke's place, where they found him threatening to harm himself with a knife. According to police, Clarke approached an officer with a knife and "extended it out." The officers "felt threatened" and opened fire, killing him.

The police officers were not wearing body cameras, so we have no way of determining whether or not the officers' perception of Clark's behavior was accurate. According to police, one officer went to get a beanbag gun while another officer attempted to de-escalate the situation. But obviously that didn't happen.

Worthy of note: Only a fifth of Mesa police have completed crisis intervention training to learn how to de-escalate situations with mentally ill or otherwise disabled individuals. But also of note: one of the officers on the scene had completed this training, according to the Phoenix New Times.

The police said they were not aware of Clarke's mental health history, though apparently police were called to the home for a similar possible suicide attempt two years ago. A police spokesman said, "All we knew is that [Clarke] was trying to commit suicide."

It's important to think about incidents like this whenever an obviously mentally ill person causes harm to others and people ask, "Why didn't anybody do anything about his behavior before?" In addition to the fact that there's no real reliable way to predict whether a generally non-violent person with mental health issues is an actual threat to others, we keep seeing situations where people call 911 to assist in a crisis, and this is what happens. This is far from the first time Reason has made note of how police responses to fears of suicide ended in violence or death, and it probably won't be the last. The police are training citizens not to call for help in an emergency related to mental health issues. Certainly several residents in Mesa have just learned this lesson.

NEXT: None Dare Call It Treason

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He had apparently sent out some emails asking for somebody to take care of Clarke’s dog should something happen to him.

    I can’t believe the same thing didn’t end up happening to the dog.

    P.S. Never call the police for this kind of help.

    1. Well, my joy over a silly game has been prematurely castrated by this Monday morning nut punch. Thanks Reason, why do you hate Denver.

      1. “All we knew is that [Clarke] was trying to commit suicide.”

        “Which we were happy to come over and facilitate” he didn’t add “and take care of his dog, too!”

        1. “All we knew is that [Clarke] was trying to commit suicide.”

          Actually, they knew no such thing. “Threatening to harm himself with a knife” is not necessarily “trying to commit suicide”.

    2. Well, they stopped him from committing suicide, didn’t they?

      1. Only if helping him commit suicide counts.

  2. He had apparently sent out some emails asking for somebody to take care of Clarke’s dog should something happen to him.

    Schizophrenic, too, I guess.

  3. Trying to commit suicide is a crime punishable by death.

    1. They were just making his wish come true, like the good public servants they are.

  4. The officers “felt threatened” and opened fire, killing him.

    Case

    closed.

    1. This is literally the law:

      ? The Graham analysis essentially prohibits any second-guessing of the officer’s decision to use deadly force: no hindsight is permitted, and wide latitude is granted to the officer’s account of the situation, even if scientific evidence proves it to be mistaken.

      http://www.thenation.com/artic…..ndict-cop/

      Read it and weep

      1. With that standard, body cameras only help when it is without dispute that the cop was acting with complete disregard for human life and there is no way his subjective interpretation of imminent harm can be justified; it, however, will rarely if ever be that clearcut.

  5. Worthy of note: Only a fifth of Mesa police have completed crisis intervention training to learn how to de-escalate situations with mentally ill or otherwise disabled individuals. But also of note: one of the officers on the scene had completed this training, according to the Phoenix New Times.

    Oh, make sure we get a plug in by the union for extra training pay.

    I’ve never had 30 seconds of crisis training, but if I’m called to respond to a young man trying to hurt himself, if he comes at me with a knife I’m going into full retreat. Not pulling the weapon out and spraying the house with bullets until everything in my field of vision stops twitching.

    1. But Paul, that’s because you’re not a sociopath facing potentially zero consequences. Won’t anyone think of the unrestrained sociopaths for just one minute?!?

  6. “The man, Kayden Clarke, 24, (referred to in some stories as Danielle Jacobs?Clarke had just recently begun his transition apparently) is now dead, shot by police who been called to his home in Mesa, Arizona, by people who were concerned about a possible suicide attempt.”

    Never call the cops on a possibly suicidal person. They seem to kill them with disturbing frequency.

    1. Well, there is a trend towards legalized assisted suicide, so….

    2. It is almost as if cops respond to calls of a suicidal person in hopes that they will get to carry out the person’s wish.

      1. DING DING DING

        Just like they’ve caught K-9 handlers referring to “getting your bite”, I bet there is a similar thing about killing people threatening suicide among cops. It probably even has an absurdly banal moniker just like “getting your bite”.

        1. I’d guess Kevorkian, but that is too hard for the average cop to spell.

    3. They had to kill him first to protect his immortal soul.

    4. The ones with weapons, probably. However, here in the Twin Cities the police have done a pretty good job talking the bridge jumpers down without anyone getting hurt.

  7. Not to be all nitpicky, but the DSM has dropped Asperger’s as a seperste diagnosis/condition. The pattern of behaviors that was Asperger’s are now just classified as autism.

    1. Great, now one in ten people has autism.

    2. Not to be all nitpicky, but

      “I believe in free speech, but…”

      1. Shame on you, Hugh – people with Aspergers can’t help being nitpicky, it’s part of the syndrome.

        1. I loathe all of you.

          1. Also part of the syndrome.

          2. That’s cool. We loathe ourselves, too.

        1. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

        2. Why?

    3. They’ve got SCD now though. So it’s all good.

      About Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD)
      Social (pragmatic) communication disorder (SCD) is a new element of DSM-V. SCD is meant to help identify and treat individuals who have problems with communication, social interaction, and academic and occupational performance. One of the goals of establishing SCD is to distinguish individuals with SCD from those with autism.

      1. individuals who have problems with communication, social interaction, and academic and occupational performance

        And here, all this time, I thought I might just be an asshole.

  8. The police said they were not aware of Clarke’s mental health history, though apparently police were called to the home for a similar possible suicide attempt two years ago. A police spokesman said, “All we knew is that [Clarke] was trying to commit suicide.”

    So as far as they knew the guy was only threatening suicide and they had no idea people threatening suicide sometimes have mental health issues? Only by specific training are police officers made aware of this little-known nugget of arcana? Where does the police department hire this particular model of idiot?

  9. “According to police, a team of officers showed up to Clarke’s place, where they found him threatening to harm himself with a knife. According to police, Clarke approached an officer with a knife and “extended it out.” The officers “felt threatened” and opened fire, killing him.”

    Jesus fucking Christ, that guy is like 110 lbs. We’re talking about an Mtf transsexual who does not appear to have used a whole lot of testosterone. Are you really telling me you couldn’t think about how to disarm him without shooting him?

    1. Are you really telling me you couldn’t think about how to disarm him without shooting him?

      If they’re not trained in it, how would it occur to them?

      1. Union’s working on that. New training schedule posted early next week with training bonus pay. See your shop steward.

      2. Look, it’s a very specialized feat with a bunch of useless prerequisites. Sometimes there are better things to pick when leveling up.

        1. +1 Improved Evasion

    2. We’re talking about an Mtf transsexual who does not appear to have used a whole lot of testosterone.

      Huh?

      1. Sorry, FtM. I got that backwards because I am a bastard man. He does not have the body of a grown man, is what I’m trying to say, since he apparently started transitioning recently (the name is still a woman’s name in the linked HuffPo story which tells me the transition began very recently).

        1. Are you sure, I thought it was MtF. I think Nikki was questioning why someone transitioning to F would be using testosterone.

          Also, HuffPo is progressive so they’ll be using the person’s preferred gender.

          1. Reason is using male pronouns and Reason is also socially liberal enough to use preferred gender. It’s possible HuffPo didn’t know he’s trans.

            Pretty sure he’s FtM, which would mean he would potentially be using testosterone.

        2. Oh, I get it. The post was confusing enough that I actually thought you were right that he was FtM.

          1. Er, I mean, MtF…

            1. I know, it’s fucking confusing.

              1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    3. Right, what’s the range of a taser or pepper spray? Why didn’t they bring the bean bag gun with them in the first place? I’m sure the pending prosecution will reveal these facts.

      1. Funny how the Taser was originally sold as a less-lethal alternative for just this type of situation, but now it is mostly just used for “compliance”.

        1. A quick googles gave me this from policeone: Mesa Police Hooks Officers Up with TASER On-Officer Cameras

          The story is from 2012, so apparently the Mesa Police no longer have TASER cameras?

          1. Better story, and more recent, and not from PoliceOne: Mesa Police Department Expands Body-Worn Video Program With TASER’s AXON Flex Cameras and EVIDENCE.com

            the Mesa Police Department has received approval to purchase 300 AXON body-worn cameras over the next five years. The first order includes 100 cameras and a five-year subscription to EVIDENCE.com as the backend digital evidence management system as well as several docking stations that will allow officers to automatically charge and upload the their video footage after each shift.

            At least that TASER money is being used wisely.

    4. Clarke approached an officer with a knife and “extended it out.

      Could also be “attempted to surrender the weapon”.

  10. Why do the cops even get close enough to a person with a knife for them to be in danger? Oh right, so they can shoot them.

    1. I’d go with ‘gross stupidity.’ The same thing that led a cop to pull up within 10 feet of Tamir Rice rather than approaching from a distance so he could survey the situation.

      1. I have no doubt that in the case of Tamir Rice, the cops decided they were going to kill someone before they arrived at the scene. That’s the only thing to me that can explain the way they handled the situation. Driving up, shooting before the victim could respond, and then making damn sure he bled out before anyone could help him. That was premeditated murder, not stupidity.

        1. Its the most economical explanation of the known facts.

    2. I thought they carried Asp’s to take care of situations like this, especially considering the size of the person they were just about to murder. Swing the Asp a few times and hit the arm.

      Then again, the victim could have been a secret Hells Angels/ISIS transgenderd Commie…

      1. He was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and wouldn’t feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?

      2. Silly Crusty, Asp batons are not for self-defense, they’re to enforce “compliance”.

        1. Also, asps can envenomate the wrong person if they’re handled improperly. You wouldn’t want that to happen to a cop, would you?

  11. “He might look like a harmless twink, but you better believe he can cover that ground between him and you like a cheetah. You’ll be throwing your life away if you don’t shoot him down like a rabid dog.”

  12. Cops are noble warriors battling scary drug dealers and other such monsters but tiny autistic transsexuals are just too dangerous for them to effectively deal with.

  13. How hard can it be to throw a giant net on someone?

    1. There’s a thought, from now on police can only be armed with a net and a trident.

      1. NERF trident with foam points, though.

      2. So, retiarii?

      3. +1 Russell Crowe

    2. They actually make guns that shoot nets on people, the cops just don’t use them because they prefer to murder whenever they can.

  14. If he had been a scary badass, they would have hidden behind their cars and called in an air strike.

    1. After they spent all their bullets not hitting anything but the neighbors.

  15. I trust NPR will be breathlessly reporting this story.

    1. I thought white lives didn’t matter.

      1. They don’t, but trannies…..

        1. I need an intersectionality consult here, stat!

  16. The police said they were not aware of Clarke’s mental health history

    “All we knew is that [Clarke] was trying to commit suicide.”

    #2 ought to give an indication of #1, you stupid Mesa cop fucks.

    1. Even if they can’t put that one together, they ought to be prepared for the possibility that someone trying to commit suicide might have a weapon and come up with a plan besides “shoot him”.

  17. Another case of suicide by cop. Anyone who says that a dog will prevent them from having a meltdown and ‘hurting hirself’ is a danger to society. This kind of situation is the inevitable outcome.

      1. he came in pretty hot with that take.

        1. Check out his website and twitter. He is full of hot takes.

          1. Check out his website

            Why did you make click that? Are you mad at us for treating you like the racist meme that you are?

          2. Is being a stupid asshole a disease too?

            1. It seems to be communicable, so yes.

    1. This kind of situation is the inevitable outcome.

      Yes, there is no other possible way that several large, armed men could possibly deal with a fucked up teenager with a knife. Absolutely inevitable.

  18. The police officers were not wearing body cameras, so we have no way of determining whether or not the officers’ perception of Clark’s behavior was accurate.

    I have a foolproof system.

    Check for movement in the lips of the involved officers. If movement is detected, they’re lying.

  19. So wait, now you cosmos are against assisted suicide?

  20. I’m with people here. NEVER CALL THE COPS with matters that demand intelligence, nuance and compassion.

    If you do, you accept the whatever consequences come with this.

  21. WAR ON COPS!!!

    You bastards are engaging in a war on cops, just like the commie libs in San Antonio!

    Imagine the gall of the press trying to hold cops accountable for shooting someone who didn’t have a gun on him.

    This kind of incident is easy to ridicule, but it is typical of the war on law enforcement that is going on across the United States, with the support of the Obama administration and liberals generally. We have barely begun to see the lethal effects of this war.

  22. David French kissing policemen: If you don’t want to get shot by our heroes who are doing their best then don’t mental illness.

    1. Oh my God, I just googled David French and he looks exactly like you’d expect someone who mindlessly loves cops to look.

      It’s also funny how all his posts are anti-state unless it involves the cops or military.

      1. It’s also funny how all his posts are anti-state unless it involves the cops or military.

        I’m sure if he writes enough apologia, the state will eventually conform to his ideological dreams.

        It amazes me how people can consider empirical evidence to shape their perspectives in some cases, but then be utterly dogmatic in other cases. Even if you believe the police and military are the only acceptable state functions, and I’m sure many people do, that doesn’t mean they should get a pass on bad behavior. I mean it seems patently obvious that if the state shouldn’t be in charge of most things, then it should be given a suspicious eye in those things it is in charge of.

      2. Read his article on defending the school cop who violently flung that student across the class room.

        Remarkable stuff.

  23. What is the fucking point of responding to a suicidal person if your only tool is a gun?

    1. Public service?

    2. If somebody is wielding a knife and making threats, then having a gun available could save your life or the life of another. But about the only thing the police could deliver that an ordinary person could not is a deflection of liability.

  24. Clarke approached an officer with a knife and “extended it out.” in his hand. The officers “felt threatened” shit their pants in fear because they’re fucking pussies and opened fire, killing him.

    FTFY. Probably a more accurate description of what really happened.

  25. Did the neighbors call the cops specifically or just 911 and were routed to the police? Were they thinking they were going to get an ambulance instead? That seems relevant. I guess if the 911 operator is informed that there’s a weapon, it’s reasonable for the cops to get the call.

    And here’s what the police department tweeted afterward: “Officer involved shooting. All officers ok.Media staging 8000 E Encanto. PIO enroute.” At least their priorities are in order…

  26. There are over 370 “mental disorders” listed in the latest version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) The list includes “Tobacco Addiction Disorder” among other equally mundane and ridiculous so-called “mental illnesses.”

    If the DSM is the standard by which Obama wishes to remove our rights to own guns, then I’d guess 90% of the American people could probably be classified with a mental disorder of one kind or another.

    BEWARE, BEWARE

  27. Mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin..

    Deceptive Transformation: The Truth of Soviet Influence in America and Gun Control..
    The idea of using mental health as a weapon against the people is communist in origin, and the social sciences, or the studying of human behavior has its roots in early twentieth century Russia when Ivan Pavlov developed his
    “classical conditioning” theories. In fact, Pavlov was disturbed that Vladimir Lenin would use these conditioning methods against the people in order to get them to accept communism. Since that time the social sciences have been used as a means of maintaining control over populations and getting them to accept their own down fall. This is happening today in the United States as our universities and public schools have long ago adopted educational techniques based on the social sciences and classical conditioning methods.

    Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

    Freedomoutpost

    1. Subjects like White Privilege and Multiculturalism are used to demoralize our population, create a guilt consciousness and silence usinto accepting a new agenda based on the idea that we have been unfair, and our lifestyles are oppressive, and offensive to others. This agenda dates back to the early twentieth century; however, it saw some of its most major advances in the mid 1900’s after the U.N. was created in 1945. While many people today view the Democrat Party as being made mostly of communists or socialists; the sad truth is that the Republican Party is just as responsible for what we are seeing in education and culture in the United States today.

      Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

  28. And we know this wasn’t a successful Suicide-By-Cop, because?

  29. Asperger’s Syndrome is a mental illness just like homosexuality is a mental illness (ie, it isn’t). The actions of the police should be judged by whether or not Clarke posed a legitimate threat to others.

  30. The technology is so developed that we can watch videos, live streaming, TV serials and any of our missed programs within our mobiles and PCs. Showbox
    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.