Denver police shoot, kill mentally challenged 15-year old

By | July 11, 2003

Since I mentioned this in the last post, I figured I’d better give more information about it. On July 6th, police responded to a 911 call saying that a teen was threatening his mother with a knife. When police got to the house, they found the teen standing in the front door of his house holding a knife. Police told the teen to drop the knife, when he didn’t, an officer shot the teen, killing him.

The teen was Paul Childs, a 15-year old mentally challenged boy. Childs was a student at a local high school, and was thought of as a nice – but slow – guy. People in his neighborhood and at school really liked Paul; no one could believe he would threaten police with a knife.

Paul’s mother said that he wouldn’t do this. Paul simply didn’t understand what was going on, and didn’t understand that he needed to let go of the knife. Had the police officers either waited or used some type of non-lethal force (Taser, rubber bullets, pepper spray), Paul would still be alive. He is dead because a police officer over-reacted, plain and simple.

There are many calls from Denver newspapers for the Denver Police Department to stop using lethal force. Unfortunately, Paul’s death is not an isolated incident here in the Mile High City. There’ve been far too many police killings. This needs to change.

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