Police Shoot Care Provider For Person with Autism in North Miami

This situation to me is very concerning on several levels.  When police get involved in situations with people with disabilities it often ends very badly. It has happened locally here in my area before, and has happened before elsewhere many times over.  Police are not trained mental health professionals and are often forced into situations when people slip through the mental health system.

A mental health care provider was shot when trying to bring an individual with autism back into a treatment environment after he left.  The individual was sitting in the road playing with a toy truck and even after the care provider yelled at police the individual was autistic and it was only a toy truck in his hands police fired three shots at the autistic person, missing him and hitting the care provider once even though his hands were in the air.

With cutbacks to mental health services as well as public school systems the cracks in these systems are becoming more and more significant.  More people are slipping through as they are not getting the help they need.

Support people in my area who are only by contract to have a caseload of thirty often have caseloads approaching fifty.  Worker turnover is often very high for care providers due to low pay and the low pay also contributes to many care providers being of a lower quality.  Staffing issues create problems where people who should be watched closely are often left alone for long periods of time.

And then when the system fails the police come into a situation they are not trained how to handle.  I agree adamantly this is clearly a police officers fault, however I think also this should be a huge wakeup call that funding for public mental health services needs to be restored to adequate levels.  Situations like this happen every day in every state across the nation but typically do not escalate to this level.

Also read the Autism Self Advocacy Network’s statement on the shooting

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