I had a real hard time writing this post. This incident really upset me. Police are notorious for not understanding people with mental illnesses. They seem to think that just yelling at them and telling them what to do will make them behave. They act as if the mentally ill have the mental capacity to make those kinds of determinations. When things don’t go how they expect them to, officers resort to violence and the mentally ill person is scared and confused because they don’t understand why they are being hurt.
Police Officers in Albion, Michigan were called to help a grandmother with her 13 year old grandson. The grandson, Da’Veon Cieslack, has cerebral palsy and suffers from mental illness. Police had told Da’Veon’s grandmother to call them whenever she was having problems with him and they would come help. She had done that 38 times in the past four years. The officers would come, speak to Da’Veon to help calm him down, then leave. I understand this is not their job but what they had done up to this point was the smart way to handle a person like Da’Veon (and many others).
On this night things changed. On this night Officer Tyler Collins felt the appropriate way to handle a 13 year old boy with cerebral palsy and mental health issues was to handcuff him, yell at him, punch him more than 7 times and take him to juvenile. Not only that but then another officer pepper sprays Da’Veon and then the officer pushes Da’Veon’s face towards the cushion seat of the car which would make it even harder for him to breath. Officer Collins was fired but not charges were brought against him.
This is part of the problem. Officers know there will be no real consequences for their actions. It’s sicken to see this officer punching a child who has no real comprehension of what is happening. The video below is a Detroit news clip so it doesn’t show all the brutality but it shows enough to let us know what was done to this child.