Disability Advocates Want Change In Wake Of Viral Pima County Incident

By Lauren Gilger, Katie Campbell
Published: Monday, November 25, 2019 - 2:47pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 6:36am
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A video of a Pima County sheriff’s deputy tackling a teenager, who is a quadruple-amputee, in a Tucson group home went viral in recent weeks. It was shot by another teenager who lived in the group home.

The video prompted an internal affairs investigation by the department, and the officer — Manuel Van Santen — is now on administrative leave. He released a statement through his lawyer last week claiming the teen — who has no arms or legs — was a threat to others in the group home, and he looks forward to having his name cleared.

Despite this, the video has sparked outrage among many, especially those in the disability community. Now, the Arizona Center for Disability Law and several other disability advocacy groups are asking for change. They wrote an open letter to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, and The Show spoke with the organization's CEO, J.J. Rico, more about it. 

The Show also reached out to the Pima County Sheriff’s office about this letter, they sent this statement: “We appreciate the collective organizations for writing to our department. We understand their expressed concern.” But the department said it didn’t learn of the encounter until earlier this month and, at this point, they will respect the investigative process. 

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