Thursday, June 13, 2024

Civil Rights/Mental Health Advocate Areva Martin Urges Swift Reform After Autistic Teen Fatally Shot by Sheriff’s Deputies | VIDEO

*Los Angeles, CA – Following the heart-wrenching incident in Victorville, California, where Ryan Gainer a 15-year-old boy with mental health issues was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies, Areva Martin, a noted civil rights attorney and fervent advocate for mental health and disability rights, has released a statement demanding immediate action and underscoring the necessity for profound systemic reform.

“In a grievous continuation of violence, we mourn the loss of another young life in Southern California. Coming in the wake of the tragic shooting of Ryan Gainer, a 15-year-old autistic boy, this recent incident further exposes the critical shortcomings in our approach to mental health crises and law enforcement’s role in them.

“The loss of a 17-year-old boy, who found himself in a moment of profound distress, to law enforcement intervention is not just a family’s tragedy but a societal failure. The recurring theme of inadequate de-escalation tactics and the resort to lethal force, especially in situations involving individuals with mental health challenges, calls for immediate and unequivocal reform.

“Transparency, accountability, and a commitment to preserving life must be the guiding principles of our law enforcement. The partial disclosures and the delayed relaying of critical information do not serve the cause of justice or the community’s trust. This incident, much like Ryan Gainer’s, underscores the urgent need for law enforcement officers to receive comprehensive training in mental health crisis intervention and for the integration of mental health professionals in emergency responses.

Areva Martin
Areva Martin

“We stand in solidarity with the families affected by these tragedies and the community at large, advocating for a transparent investigation into these incidents. It is imperative that all involved officers’ body-camera footage be released in full to provide a clear and unobstructed view of the events leading to these fatal outcomes.

“Our hearts go out to the bereaved family, and we extend our full support during this incredibly challenging time. We urge the community, activists, and officials to unite in the demand for justice and the implementation of tangible changes in how mental health crises are managed. Together, we can work towards a future where compassion, understanding, and non-lethal interventions are the hallmarks of our response to those in need.”

“Action speaks louder than words. In response to these heart-wrenching incidents, we are convening a Town Hall meeting to foster dialogue, honor those we’ve lost, and work towards tangible solutions that prioritize empathy, understanding, and non-lethal interventions,” Areva Martin stated.

Martin added: “This is a call to our community members to join us in this vital conversation, as we strive to effect real change and ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

The Town Hall is part of the Special Needs Network’s annual Tools 4 Transformation Conference. It aims to bring together community leaders, experts in the field, and law enforcement to explore effective strategies for improving interactions and support systems for those with autism and mental health challenges. This collaborative effort marks a significant step towards a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Ryan Gainer
Ryan Gainer

Town Hall Details:
Date:   Saturday, April 13, 2024
Location:  California State University, Dominguez Hills, Innovation & Instruction Building,
1000 E Victoria St., Carson, CA 90747
Time:   8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
RSVP:  Members of the public can RSVP here.

For more information, contact [email protected].

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