Transgender man killed by Arizona police


A transgender man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, who posted a video that went viral showing how he was supported by his dog when he was self harming, has been shot dead by police in Mesa, Arizona. Kayden Clarke was killed by officers who were called to his home by neighbors who feared he was trying to commit suicide.

Police and press repeatedly misgendered him by using his legal name Danielle Jacobs, and female pronouns when speaking about him; but friends said they knew him as Kayden Clarke. Clarke had hoped to transition from female to male, but said he faced many obstacles in the process because of his disorder. Mesa police said the 24-year-old was killed by officers responding to a suicidal-person call at his home on Thursday.

People who knew him said the combination of trying to transition, the Asperger’s and other health issues weighed on him. “He was frustrated that no matter what therapist he saw, no one understood and neglected his desire for health and happiness,” said transgender man Kae Glenn, a friend of Clarke’s, in a Facebook message to The Arizona Republic.

A former coworker reported to AZ Central, “He’s been going through a tough time for a very long time. He was stressed about life. His future. His gender. Discrimination at work and online. There was a lot of hate aimed towards him. He suffered drastically … not because of just his body, but because of social media and his social situation.”

Clarke’s mother Stacia, told KPHO that the police overreacted. She said nobody was in danger: “My daughter (sic) died for asking for help,” she said Friday. “She was in her own place. And regardless of what she was thinking, what she was doing, she wasn’t posing a danger to the community. There has to be a better way for law enforcement to respond and handle situations.”

At a news conference Friday, Mesa Detective Esteban Flores said the department had an officer trained in crisis intervention at the scene, but they allegedly had no information about the person’s condition when they came to the house, although AZ family reported that police had also responded to a suicide call for Clarke two years ago.

“Officers had stun guns but did not have other less-lethal options with them”, Detective Esteban Flores said during a news conference. they stated that the 24-year-old came at them with a knife and they fired in self-defense. Officers involved in the shooting, none of whom were hurt, have been placed on administrative leave, according to ABC 15. They were not wearing body cameras.


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  1. *

    It does not end.

    The Mesa PD tell us they killed Kayden Clarke to stop him from committing suicide. How is there logic to Mesa PD’s actions identified in their own words?

    When you act to prevent suicide, the patient lives, is not murdered.

    Mesa PD used no body cameras. Inexcusable these days. One round too many of budget cuts at a city that engenders opposition to paying taxes.

    The TV stations (KPNX, KPHO, KTVK, KNXV) and their connected news organisations cited tend to present the right-wing Republican political perspective. They also tend to present a ‘police can do no wrong’ attitude when they are not otherwise condemning police unions.

    It seems quite incompetent that two big Mesa PD officers (relative to Clarke’s size) lack the capacity to disarm someone with a kitchen knife. Is killing a ‘suspect’ their only known alternative?

    Police shootings are not uncommon in the metro area. In this instance, I maintain a very difficult time trusting Mesa PD’s word about the events at that home.

    It hurts reading that not only did Clarke’s mom repetitiously mis-gender him in her quotes, that the news accounts and police reports got lazy and persisted that line rather than completing basic fact-checking and offering respect.


  2. Naomi Hoogeweij on

    what I don’t get is how they can claim they were “unaware of his condition” while they had a suicide call for him before. they also seemed to have stun guns with them, he was on the other side of the door with his knife, didn’t pose any threat.

  3. This is rediculous… just because HE was trying to kill HIMSELF? The police decided to shoot HIM?

    My thoughts are with Kayden. And it kinda did urk me a bit with HIS mother kept calling HIM she.

    That is straight up Misgendering, and I know all the signs, and symptoms of it all. I have been there. I have gotten to the point where I personally dont get depressed, sadly enough I just get aggressive. Which is probably the wrong action too.

    I hope that this is a lesson to all police, and people out there. YES! MISGENDERING and bullying a trans is a thing… and a dangerous one. Not only for the bully, or… rather a$$ butt who is DOING it, but the person on the receiving end. I really hope this story reaches the public.

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