If you look on the news there are so many problems dealing with the police, even with people who do not have a disability, so you can imagine if you add a communication issue on top of that, it can escalate to something more serious. For instance 7.6 million people in the United States have a hearing issue, 3.5 million people have some form of autism, and 15-20% of the population is affected by some form of a learning disability. The problem then becomes, how do these individuals communicate to make people aware of their disability. Below you will read two examples of these disabilities, and what can happen.
Authorities in Oklahoma City fatally shot a deaf man who reportedly had a metal pipe in his hand. The police thought he was moving toward them with the object, while witnesses were yelling that the man was deaf.
Officers were responding to a hit-and-run incident at around 8:15 p.m. A witness allegedly informed the police that a vehicle with a nearby address was involved in the collision.
When Lt. Matthew Lindsey arrived at the home, he spotted 35-year-old Magdiel Sanchez on a porch, holding a 2-foot metal pipe with a leather loop in his right hand. Lindsey immediately called for backup.
They ordered for Sanchez to put the weapon down and get on the ground. The police department’s public information officer, Capt. Bo Matthews, said both officers on the scene had weapons on them, like a taser and a gun. Witnesses were yelling that this person, Mr. Sanchez, was deaf and could not hear. The officers didn’t know this at the time. Reportedly, both officers shot at Sanchez when he was 15 feet away from them. EMS pronounced him dead at the scene.
An Arizona family is demanding an apology and more police training after their autistic 14-year-old son was held on the ground by an officer who mistakenly believed the teen was using drugs. The Buckeye Police Department released body camera footage of the July 19 incident, in which a police officer saw a teenager alone in a park "moving his hand to his face in a manner consistent with inhaling."
The video shows the teen telling the officer he's "stimming" — for self-stimulation — which is a type of behavior described as calming, and beginning to walk away before the officer roughly detains him. The boy panics and repeatedly says "I'm OK" and screams before a caretaker shows up and tells the officer that he is autistic. The caretaker explains that the boy was "stimming" and the officer says, "I don't know what that is." Police said the boy was held on the ground for around two minutes and released.
Justifeyed is here to provide another set of eyes and ears, where there might not always be some or where there cannot be. Arming these individuals with the Justifeyed app can give them instant access to loved ones who can see what is happening with an officer, or in an emergency situation.
However, it's not just about providing help to those who are disabled, but Justifeyed can help the emergency personnel as well. If a witness calls Justifeyed, the dispatcher is able to make the officer aware that the individual has a disability before they arrive, giving them the opportunity to better prepare and prevent tragic, or unnecessary situations. This will also allow for a loved one or care taker to quickly come to the scene to aide in the situation.
Right now Justifeyed is reaching out to Wisconsin government officals, to see how we can move forward and make all of this possible. Justifeyed is an app that is truly for everyone. Support or donate now to give every one an equal opportunity when faced with an emergency situation, including emergency personnel. Justifeyed-anyone, anytime, anywhere.