A public records request from RISE NEWS has found that the North Miami police department does not any “specific policies” in terms of how its officers interact with people with disabilities, including autism.
We first requested the information on July 25th and were emailed the findings today.
The request was prompted by the police shooting of unarmed therapist Charles Kinsey three times in the leg in a North Miami street.
The officer who shot Kinsey, Jonathan Aledda was apparently aiming at Kinsey’s autistic patient according to the Miami-Dade police union president.
The shooting made national headlines and brought the issue of racial bias and violence against disabled people into the fore.
In responding to our request of any and all policies and procedures that the North Miami police department may have in dealing with people with disabilities, Major Franzia Brea said that “There are no specific policies regarding this topic.”
You can see for yourself:
While this new disclosure underscores the fact that North Miami has no specific policies dealing with people with disabilities, that doesn’t mean that their officers aren’t familiar with the issue.
North Miami police spokeswoman Natalie Buissereth told RISE NEWS that roughly 85% to 95% of North Miami officers have received Crisis Intervention Team Policing training (CIT).
CIT is often cited by police departments as a top local training method for officers to learn how to deal with people with mental illnesses.
Of course mental illness and developmental disability are two different things.
The CIT training only includes a small section (one page) about Autism and other developmental disabilities.
While the CIT training may be lacking, at least it is something.
But it is not at all clear that Aledda even received CIT training.
His personnel jacket does not include information regarding the training.
“If you don’t see it, it’s not there,” Buissereth said of Aledda’s missing CIT training certificate in his personnel jacket.
While much of the focus of the shooting has rightly been focused on Charles Kinsey, perhaps we should start asking why our police officers aren’t being properly trained on how to deescalate situations with people who have disabilities.
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RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.