Mississippi Police Point Guns At ‘Dangerous’ Six-Year-Old With Autism

Via The Clarion-Ledger:

Paul and Angela Thompson Roby told WLBT that Ridgeland officers arrived in an unmarked car at a home owned by Angela Roby’s mother on Brisbane Lane. They were looking for Carneigio Gray, 23, who is Angela Roby’s brother.

Ridgeland spokesman Lt. John Neal said officers had received information that Gray, who has an outstanding warrant for contempt of court for failure to appear on a three-year-old paraphernalia charge, was staying in that house. When they entered the home, he resisted arrest.

That’s when the Robys said their son asked officers not to hurt his uncle. They told WLBT that officers then drew their weapons on the child.

“My mother was telling them, ‘Hey please don’t point your gun at my grandbaby. Please don’t do that,'” Angela Roby told reporters.

I wish I could say there’s no way this story is true, but we live in a country where 12-year-old Tamir Rice can be gunned down in under two seconds by the police for playing with a toy gun and still have people defend the officer that pulled the trigger.

The title of this article is kind of misleading since I’ll bet cold hard cash that the color of the kid’s skin (he’s black) had more to do with why he had a gun pointed at him than his autism did — at least for now. When he gets older is a different story.

Only the willfully blind can deny that there is a problem with the police in this country. Black lives do not matter to them and neither do the lives of the mentally ill (not that autism is a mental illness but the police do not make that distinction at all). And why should they? It’s not like the police are held accountable for unnecessarily abusing or killing people. I would be stunned if the officers involved were disciplined in any real way even if they admit they pulled their guns.

The bottom line is that the Robys’ son has two serious strikes against him surviving future encounters with the police: He’s black and he’s autistic. And he just got his first taste of how cavalier cops are with violence. Somewhere along the road, the police went from protecting and serving the public to treating the public as an imminent threat at all times. Black people are treated as “dangerous” even if they don’t have a gun. And instead of trying to deescalate an encounter with a mentally ill person having an episode, the police rely on lethal force because it’s “safer” for them.

Again, autism is not a mental illness but the public in general (and police in particular) are so poorly educated about it that they can’t tell the difference. I have an autistic son (he’s six so you can see why this story caught my attention) and, like myself, he’s going to be an intimidatingly large adult. When he gets upset, he cries and flaps his hands or, if he’s really upset, smacks himself on top of his head. My wife and I hope that he outgrows that kind of behavior, but he may not. It’s impossible to know. And so I live with a deep dread that, someday, Jordan the 6-foot-plus giant will have an episode in public and a trigger happy cop will blow him away for flapping his hands and crying in a “threatening” manner.

When the police are taught that there are no consequences for murder and brutality, they will learn to respond only with murder and brutality. Until we hold the police accountable, children like the Robys’ son, and my own child, are going to grow up in the crosshairs of a police force just looking for an excuse to use lethal force.