Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Georgia Scores a Hat Trick

photo credit-thebigo
creative commons license

In the game of hockey, a hat trick refers to when a single player scores three goals on the opposing team during the same game.

In the game of "how can we be the most discriminatory against autistics", the US state of Georgia has been in the news three times in the last two weeks. First it was charging a 14 year old autistic boy with felony terrorism charges for stick figure drawings he put on his homework. Then it was police using a taser on an 18 year old autistic young man who didn't answer their questions fast enough, and appeared different.

Today Georgia is in the news again, and again it's for tasing an autistic man. According to Fox News:

"Twenty-three-year-old D.J. Moran said multiple officers surrounded him, cuffed him on the ground and then tasered him, MyFoxAtlanta reports."

Of course, the multiple officers couldn't possibly handle this after they surrounded the man and were putting him on the ground, so they just had to taser him:

"Police officials released a statement saying, 'The officer used a taser when the suspect failed to cooperate by struggling and resisting, after being instructed to place his hands behind his back. The suspect only complied after the taser was used.' "

Fortunately, even though the police tried to cover themselves by charging the man with multiple felonies, a jury (who saw a police cruiser cam video of the event) saw things differently:

"Police charged Moran with multiple felonies, but a jury did not convict him."

So congratulations, Georgia! Guess I won't be spending any of my vacation dollars in your state this year.


Clay said...

The schools in Florida also have an abysmal record. I'm staying far away from Florida, Georgia, and Arizona!

Patrick said...

This article is about an incident from 2 years ago, finally getting over the next hurtle/dismissal. (unless I'm misreading.)

While I agree it is another example of a rude 'tood in dealing with autistics, the delay might disqualify the hat trick.

kathleen said...

This is the crap that worries me the most with my kids. I know that if either of my boys were surrounded, they would freeze up-wouldn't know what to do. Even worse is that I don't know how to prepare them for situations like this. I hate that I even have to think about it. My question is-how do we change it?

Club 166 said...

Perhaps there is a reason that Georgia and Florida are located right next to each other...

Realized that this was an old incident (as it referred to a court case, which takes a while to be completed), but I think I'll give them the "benefit of the doubt" and award them the hat trick anyway.

There is no sure-fire way to prevent these things from happening. The best we can do is encourage our kids to cooperate with law enforcement directives as much as they can, so that the chance is somewhat minimized. The other big thing, of course, is encouraging our local law enforcement authorities to have their officers undergo training in dealing with autistics, and others with special needs, which may or may not be visible.

I generally support the efforts of law enforcement, and realize that they sometimes have a tough job. But they need to exercise the great discretionary power they have wisely, lest they lose the respect and cooperation of all the people they serve.


Patrick said...


Other than what Joe has already suggested I would be looking at the scope of intent.

If we need to make a national or international change then having a charitable organization with both legal and marketing capabilities would be a great start. Like the UK NAS.

For the story of the Tybee island treatment Clifford had, I truly think something like an ACLU response would be warranted, but have no idea at what level they could be approached to help out.

kathleen said...

I agree with you on supporting the efforts of law enforcement..There are good stories as well-but unfortunately the awful ones seem to make the news. I live in a very small town. One of the perks of this is that we know our police officers personally. I just worry about the wider world that my kids will one day be in..Implementing awareness programs while in training is a start.

Justthisguy said...

Ah, yes, Cherokee county. I lived there, in Woodstock, around 1992. (I was able to vote for Newt Gingrich and against Bill Clinton that year) It's a weird county. It still has a lot of descendents of its original inhabitants (there was a church just up the road founded during the Jackson Administration) but has gotten right suburbified as a bedroom community for Marietta and Atlanta. Canton is further north, and the people there resent the new people.

Oh, Clay? I'm from Georgia,as is my Dad's family, since 1830 or so. Fuck you, you goddamned yankee.