Police in Salt Lake City, Utah release bodycam footage of the controversial shooting of an unarmed autistic child.
Earlier this month, the nation was shocked and outraged after an autistic 13-year-old child named Linden Cameron was shot a total of 11 times by a Salt Lake City Police Officer. Police were called to Linden's home by his mom, who said her son was having a mental health crisis. On Monday, the SLCPD posted bodycam footage taken by the officers to YouTube, showing the moments leading up to the deadly encounter. The video shows Linden running away from at least two officers before one of the officers opens fire, hitting him 11 times.
Golda Barton, Lindon's mom, called the police to her home and informed the officers that her son had autism. She also told them that he doesn't trust the police because law enforcement agents killed his grandfather. Barton also warned them that he might be carrying a fake gun. Like many parents who have called for help dealing with a mentally unstable loved one, Barton expected the officers to be able to de-escalate the situation. However, she soon learned that this might have been a tragic mistake. To make matters worse, one of the female officers at the scene is heard in one of the videos expressing her concern about being involved in the situation, even suggesting how this might not be the right job for the police to handle.
“This is a psych problem. I don’t see why we even have to approach. Honestly, we can call sergeant and tell him the situation, because I’m not about to get into a shooting because he’s upset. This is exactly what we talked about last week. If no one’s in the house and no one is in danger, maybe he’s probably breaking stuff but he’s not harming himself. Sorry, I’m not about to get into a shooting,” the officer can be heard saying.
Unfortunately, one of the officers at the scene didn't see the wisdom of her advice, and after officers knocked on the door, Cameron fled the home out through the backyard. After police pursued him on a short chase, the child was shot 11 times by one of the pursuing officers.
The video concludes with Cameron saying to the officers, "I don't feel good. Tell my mom I love her,' as he laid bleeding out on the ground.
Officers handcuffed the boy first, then made what could best be described as a half-hearted effort to provide some medical attention to his wounds. Fortunately, the child managed to survive but is still in serious condition and will likely be left with lifelong injuries. When Cameron was rushed to the hospital, the child was listed in critical condition as the bullets had punctured his bladder, intestines, ankles, and shoulder. The teen is still in the hospital and reportedly is having difficulty speaking. He's also said to have lost feeling in one arm, and doctors do not believe he'll ever walk again.
During a press conference, SLCPD Chief Mike Brown confessed that Cameron and many others shot by the police who also were experiencing mental health episodes were not engaged in criminal activity.
“We are facing a mental health crisis in this country. We want to be partners with those who provide mental health services. As a community, we need to find a way forward. Too often, our officers are called to deal with these difficult problems, which frequently are not criminal in nature,” Brown said during a press conference this week.
You can watch a news report summarizing the bodycam footage below.
If you would like to watch all of the bodycam videos, they are broken into four parts. Here's is the first video.
Here is the second video.
Here is the third video.
And here is the fourth and final video.