Police kill Kayden Clarke, a transgender man with Asperger’s who was suicidal.

Police Kill Transgender Man With Asperger’s Who Was Suicidal

Police Kill Transgender Man With Asperger’s Who Was Suicidal

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Feb. 6 2016 1:29 PM

Police Kill Transgender Man With Asperger’s Who Was Suicidal

kaydenclarke
A screen capture from a Dec. 14, 2015 YouTube video in which Kayden Clarke happily announces his insurance will pay for sex reassignment surgey.

YouTube

Police in Arizona knew they’d be dealing with someone who may not be in the right frame of mind when they arrived at the home of 24-year-old Kayden Clarke. Friends had called police fearing Clarke, a transgender man, was suicidal. When police arrived Clarke allegedly charged at two officers with a knife and at least one of them opened fire, reports the Arizona Republic.  

Police identified the person they killed as Danielle Jacobs, although friends said they knew him as Kayden Clarke. Clarke had been struggling to find support to transition from female to male and chronicled the frustrating obstacles in a series of YouTube videos. “Arizona has the worst mental health system across the United States,” he says in a video posted less than a month ago.

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In December, Clarke had posted a video in which he announced that his insurance would pay for his sex reassignment surgery. "I'm so happy," he said.  

Clarke gained worldwide attention last year after posting a video in which his service dog Samson provides comfort during a mental breakdown. “This is what having Asperger’s like,” Clarke wrote alongside the video that had since been made private. “When I have a meltdown, I often have self-injurious behavior and I often self-harm,” Clarke told the Huffington Post.

“Before the police arrived she wasn’t posing a threat to the community at all,” Clarke’s mother, who refers to Clarke as her daughter, told the New York Daily News. “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 aware of her special needs.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.