Mesa, AZ — Danielle Jacobs, 24, brought tears to the internet’s eyes last year after she posted a video of what she felt like with Asperger’s syndrome.
In the video, Jacobs recorded herself during one of her ‘meltdowns,’ which showed her trying to punch herself, but being comforted by her Rottweiler instead.
“This is what having Asperger’s like,” she wrote with the video.
“When I have a meltdown, I often have self-injurious behavior and I often self-harm,” she said in an interview with the Huffington Post last year.
This open conversation about her Asperger’s syndrome seemed to have been therapeutic for Jacobs. However, Thursday morning things would take a turn for the worse.
According to Mesa police, they received a call about a suicidal woman around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
When officers responded to Jacobs’ apartment, they say she stated that she had a knife and was going to hurt herself. At this time, police claim, Jacobs moved toward them with a knife, causing them to fear for their lives and they both fired their duty weapons.
Apparently, simply backing up was not an option.
“She had one knife that we know of, she had something else we’re not sure what it was, the officers said it was dark inside the room,” Flores said. “When she made contact with them, she approached them with the knife, extended it out, and they felt threatened.”
After they shot Jacobs, and ambulance was called, and she was transported to a hospital where doctors tried to close her wounds. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful and later in the evening, her family received word that she did not make it.
Speaking with the NY Daily News, her mother, Stacia, said that this was completely unexpected and she was shocked.
“I talked to her last night and the night before and she seemed fine.
“Before the police arrived she wasn’t posing a threat to the community at all. And the police came into her own place.
“They shot and killed a 24-year-old autistic, mentally ill individual whom they had been familiar with and were aware of her special needs.”
According to AZ Family, Mesa police said they plan to hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday to discuss “new, developing information” in the shooting and things the Mesa police force is doing “to assist in dealing with and interacting with those with mental illness,” according to Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores.
According to Flores, no officers were hurt, the incident is under investigation, and the officers involved were not wearing body cameras.
As the Free Thought Project has pointed out in the past, the overwhelming majority of time spent by police during training is devoted to shooting their weapons. Very little time is set aside for training in de-escalation tactics, and most departments receive zero training in dealing with the mentally ill.
In fact, a study by the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers faced by those with severe mental illnesses, released a jaw-dropping report titled, Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters. In the report, researchers discovered that people with an untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during an interaction with police than anyone else.
According to the study, by all accounts – official and unofficial – a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.
Update: After this story broke, it was brought to our attention that Danielle Jacobs was transgender. Danielle identified as a man named Kayden Clark. We apologize for being unaware of this.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world.