An autistic 13-year-old boy was shot almost a dozen times by police, in Utah, USA. His mother had called earlier to try and get help for the boy’s mental health problem. The Utah department allowed the officers to go and speak to the young boy which turned into a violent shooting.
The mother, Golda Barton had contacted the police saying her son had told earlier in the day that he had a gun, to break windows and had exposed vicious thoughts about his mother’s co-worker. She believed it was a non-harmful gun, a pellet or BB gun perhaps. Barton rang the police to get him mental health treatment in hospital.
There was no suggestion that the boy was armed, yet the footage that recently surfaced is of the Salt Lake City officers running after the boy down an alley, and shouting at him to get on the ground. The 13-year-old boy dropped to the ground after he was shot 11 times, he has suffered broken bones and punctured organs. He is still in hospital, shockingly but thankfully still alive.
Barton had told the officers that the boy was very scared of police, the boy believed the police were going to kill him, so he feels he needed to defend himself. The very violent shooting has now gained a lot of attention and everyone is questioning ‘how police deal with people with mental health problems.’
The footage shows officers debating whether or not they should approach the autistic boy, as they believed the situation would lead to a shooting. The boy had continued walking even after the police officers had told him to stop, on setting the shots fired. The footage shows no proof of the boy being armed, nor do any of the police reports explain the boy having a gun of any kind. The mother, Barton had told the dispatchers that her son had a breakdown and they should have sent a crisis-intervention officer.
The officers that were on site, were trained partly in mental health but they were definitely not specialists. The mayor, Erin Mendenhall, of Salt Lake City has put forward an investigation almost immediately to see if the police acted completely inappropriately.
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