Down Syndrome Essay

693 words - 3 pages

On September 10, 2011, Gilberto Powell, a Down syndrome man, was walking home from his friend's house, less than one block away from his own home, when he was stopped by two Miami-Dade police officers. The officers had stopped him due to their suspicion that Powell had a weapon on him. What the two officers believed to be a weapon was simply a colostomy bag that Gilberto wore on his waist. The officers tried to do a pat-down search of the 22-year-old man. Gilberto became frightened by the two officers and pushed off the car in an attempt to flee to his home. Police say that they gave multiple commands for him to stop moving, when he fell on the ground and hit his head. He still tried to escape by hitting one of the officers in the chest. The officer then struck Gilberto in the face with an open hand in an attempt to subdue him. He was then handcuffed. The officers then forcibly removed the colostomy bag.
This event makes many people wonder if officers would act with excessive force if an innocent citizen were under suspicion for some sort of crime. This leads into the controversy of whether or not officers should be held responsible for what they have done. The argument for the police officers is that they are simply doing what they were trained to do. To act fast and resolve a problem quickly is the way they learned how to deal with a problem. Proponents for the victims of these cases believe that officers should be able to identify the signs of a person with special needs. In an article written by Andy Kossak, Gilberto's mother even asked the officers, "Didn't you know he was a Down's syndrome kid?" The officer then replied, "No, I'm not a doctor. I don't know." Powell's mother then said, "Well, you can see it in his face that he is a Down's syndrome kid."
A more recent case involved a man with Down syndrome left Robert Ethan Saylor dead after he tried to simply re-enter a movie...

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