A trans vlogger with Asperger’s has become the latest victim of police violence in the United States, after a call to protect him from self-harm resulted in 24 year-old Kayden Clarke being shot dead in his home.
Kayden, often mistakenly referred to posthumously as “Danielle Jacobs”, was killed last Thursday, when police officers claimed he came at them with a knife. Kayden had been threatening to kill himself to friends through texts and emails, which resulted in police being called to calm him down at his home in Mesa, Arizona.
Kayden had recently begun to document his transition on his modestly-followed YouTube channel; but he was best known for a viral video from last year, in which his service dog Samson helps to calm him down during an Aperger’s-induced episode of distress.
In his final video posted to his channel a month ago, Kayden lamented his inability to transition fully due to his autism. Friends of Kayden have spoken of their fury at the conduct of the police, refusing to believe that he posed any real threat to them.
“This is another example of what happens in this situation when you have people with guns and no training on how to deal with people mental illness,” his friend Monica Jones said to News.com.au. “Why did they have to shoot him? What’s wrong with using a taser like they do in Australia or in London?”
“When someone is going through some kind of trauma and the police get sent in to deal with it, murder is not the solution and that’s what happened here.”
The internet has paid a lot of tribute to Kayden over the weekend – with many making a point to correct the inaccurate misgendering throughout the media coverage of him.