Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Disability Justice Network demands the dismissal of all charges against Drake Fire survivor with Autism


January 17, 2020

Saint Paul, MN - On Sunday, January 12th, 2020, at 10:59 PM, Ms. Samantha Crawley, an Autistic survivor of the Drake fire was arrested over an unpaid $111.00 traffic ticket. According to Hennepin County court records, a citation for an alleged “abandoned motor vehicle,” was sent to an unknown address for her in May 2019 but the citation was returned to their office. Despite the fact that it was due to their own clerical error, Hennepin County made the decision to have an arrest warrant issued for a citation that they knew she had never recieved.

Ms. Crawley reports being isolated in a holding for 8 hours, strapped in a restraint chair for 4 hours. Jail Staff turned off the water and the intercom system. They confiscated the blankets and the mattress, leaving her to sleep on a metal bed. She was also rushed and physically assaulted by 8 correctional officers, 4 on her wrists and 4 on her ankles, shouting at her and causing her to throw up due to the fact she couldn't breathe. The correctional staff in question filed assault charges alleging she spat at them. Her first court appearance for the police assault charges is Thursday, 1/16/2020, at 1:30 PM

The Disability Justice network condemns the Hennepin County Sheriff's office for it's egregious and uneccesarily punitive practices that discrimminate against Minnesotans with disabilities in violation of the American with Disabilities Act.

We are deeply disturbed and outraged by the rampant racism and ableism impacting autistic people of color in our society, as revealed through data on police encounters and stories such as Samantha's. In light of numerous incidents of violence against people with disabilities by local law enforcement agencies, including the public beat down of Marcus Abrams by Metro Transit PD and the death of Kolby Heisler at the hands of Brooklyn Center officers, it is long past time to urge systemic reform in policing and we renew our call to the U.S. Department of Justice to address systemic police brutality targeting people with disabilities as part of a continuing national conversation on police violence.

We believe in a future in which people with disabilities and people of color have the same access to safety and justice as white and non-disabled people. As we continue to work toward the public policy and societal changes necessary to build this future, we offer the collective strength of the disability community in solidarity with Samantha Crawley, one of our own, as they demand equal rights and equal justice and in the interest of Justice, we demand the immediate dismissal of all charges.


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