We reported on last Thursday's shooting death of Kayden Clarke, a young transgender man we first met because of his YouTube video posted June 2015 showing his Asperger's meltdown and the reaction of his calming dog (police-kill-transgender-man-suffering-aspergers-who-gained-viral-fame-calming-dog). But tragic news came out of Arizona this past weekend.
Arizona police shot and killed a transgender man who gained viral fame last year after uploading a video showing his service dog calming him during a meltdown.
The 24-year-old, who had Asperger’s syndrome, was legally known as Danielle Jacobs, but identified as Kayden Clarke and hoped to transition from female to male, friends told the Arizona Republic. Police were at his home Thursday morning after being alerted to a suicidal email he had sent out, according to the Associated Press.
A pair of officers tried to talk to Clarke through an open doorway as a third officer retrieved a “less-than-lethal option,” a Mesa police spokesman said Friday, according to video uploaded by the Republic. Clarke came to the door with a large kitchen knife in hand, said the spokesman, who referred to Clarke as a woman.
“[He] lunged, extending the knife towards the officers from a very close distance,” Detective Esteban Flores said. “The officers felt threatened at that point,” and so they shot [him]. Clarke was taken to a hospital but did not survive, the Republic reported.
Both officers — who reportedly also had stun guns, according to the Associated Press — are on administrative leave. At least one officer was trained in crisis intervention, which includes learning how to deal with individuals with cognitive disabilities and mental illness, Flores said.
Allen said she called police after Clarke sent a suicidal email Thursday morning, asking someone to take care of [his] dog. The dog is now under the care of Clarke’s mother, according to the New York Daily News. – news.nationalpost.com
What we did not know until today is that Kayden, in her own words, admitted to attempting suicide at her own hands as well as suicide by cop. In this NSFW and moving video, you can hear Kayden's frustration with the health care system. It's a little hard to watch and you may disagree with us showing it, but this may be as important as the first video we saw of Kayden. If this is the frustration that all transitioning people go through, … I couldn't imagine.
We will never know if this was an attempt at suicide by cop, but many sites and readers have stated that the goal of suicide by cop is one reason why you do not call the police when someone is threatening suicide. Since the individual often cannot pull the trigger or commit the act, they seek out someone else to end his or her life. But most websites and organizations do recommend dialing 911 to get assistance and police are sent. Hopefully someone who is trained in crisis intervention, like in Kayden's case.
One resource, written by a former patrol officer, comes out and says it …
Not all "suicide calls" are created equal – though these types of calls usually all came across my call screen as a CWB (check well-being), they didn't deserve the same classification. Here are the typical types of situations I usually got sent to, how I typically worked the call, and what the outcome generally worked out to (please note, though, that this is far from exhaustive):
- Disgruntled Teenager Seeks Attention.
- Impaired Caller.
- Hotline Caller Who Says the Magic Word(s).
- Caller Treats 911 Like a Hotline.
- Caller Directly Threatens Suicide to 911.
- Caller Directly Threatens Suicide with a Firearm.
- Subject Has In Fact Attempted or Committed Suicide. – www.quora.com
Go over to quora.com to see Justin Freeman's elaboration on how the normal and not so normal calls are handled.
The video above makes none of this better or worse. It does not help explain away the loss that Kayden's family is feeling. But it does make us realize the struggle that many transgender individuals may be facing. In all honesty, we often do not know the real reasons for suicide.
And who is to say that was Kayden's intent on Thursday. What may confuse the issue is a third video Kayden released in mid December where he is excited and looking forward toa bright future. This clearly does not appear to be a person that would be considering suicide.
Other issues that arose from this case were media sites using male and female pronouns interchangeably, many using the legal and birth name Danielle and while quoting Kayden's mother when she used the pronoun "she" to refer to child.
This story circling around Facebook is heartbreaking, we can't imagine what Kayden was going through. The most tragic part however, is the news reporting this story misgendering him and calling him his birth name in the headlines and stories. Headlines calling him a woman, using quotations around "preferred name" and calling him she and her.
Is it our fate to live life fighting for our authenticity only to have our wishes so rudely stripped of us in death? Our thoughts go out to his loved ones and to his dog. And our thanks, to those standing up for Kayden and his pronouns, name, and dignity from the media coverage. – ftmmagazine.com
The whole thing is frustrating and upsetting. In the end, we may never know who is at fault if there is any fault to be placed. All that is certain is that Kayden Clarke is no longer with us.