Editor: This incident happened on February 4, 2015. I haven’t seen it reported anywhere until now. It might have been reported as “Mesa police shot a 24 year old female” but so what? Whether it’s a 24 year old transman, or a 24 year old person with Aspbergers, what difference does it make? They shot him when they could have apprehended him by non-lethal means.
A transgender man in Arizona with Asperger’s who was shot dead by police during a suicide call said him depression came from not being able to transition genders.
Kayden Clarke, a 24-year-old in Mesa who previously went by Danielle Jacobs, died Thursday when police responded to his apartment and fired after she allegedly lunged at them with a knife.
Heather Allen, the head of HALO Animal Rescue in Phoenix, told the Associated Press that she had called police to the home after she received a “suicidal email” from Clarke asking for someone to take care of his dog Samson.
Clarke and the Rottweiler had previously touched the hearts of millions in a viral video last summer where the dog used his paws to stop his sobbing owner from hitting himself during a meltdown where he slumps against a wall.
The Arizonan said that often he would self-harm during similar outbreaks.
The video, under the name Danielle Jacobs, was later made private, and Clarke created a new YouTube channel in December to chronicle his gender transition.
He chronicled his excitement and hope about soon being able to take testosterone, adding in one posting that his insurance would cover gender reassignment surgery so he could receive “everything that I was supposed to have.”
However, in a clip last month, Clarke talked about his mental health history and lashed out against gender therapists that said he could not start testosterone until the “disease” of his Asperger’s was “fixed.”
“In my chart it says I’ve tried suicide. I’ve tried suicide by cop. I’ve tried shooting myself,” he said.
“All the depression since first f—ing grade has stemmed from not being able to transition.”
Clarke said that he was “at wit’s end” and would purchase testosterone by himself because “Arizona has the worst mental health system across the United States.”
His mother Stacia told the Daily News Thursday night that Clarke had “seemed fine” in the days leading up to her death and that those who knew her questioned the police account.
“She didn’t have a gun. She had a knife,” HALO’s Allen said. “It just seems to me there could have been a better way.”
Mesa Police spokesman Det. Esteban Flores told the Daily News that three officers had originally gone to Clarke’s house before one returned to the car to retrieve a non-lethal bean bag gun.
Two officers still inside the house, a 12-year and a 15-year veteran, fired their weapons after they saw Clarke in the doorway of a bedroom and he came at them with a 12-inch knife, he said.
He said that officer, who had no information about any disability before the call,
Clarke’s aunt Kamela Verry told the Daily News Friday that the family did not want to comment as they were busy planning how to pay for their loved one’s funeral, which may not be covered by insurance.
With News Wire Services
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