A transexual man with Asperger’s syndrome who was fed up with “ignorant” mental health care in Arizona was shot dead by police. The victim was named by cops in the town of Mesa as 24-year-old Danielle Jacobs. According to friends and her Facebook page, Jacobs identified as Kayden Clarke. Friends of the victim had called the police after Clarke had asked friends to take her service dog from her. Those pals were worried about her mental state. Clarke rose to prominence after her 2015 video went viral. In it Clarke spoke about her struggles with her condition. The most harrowing moment occurs when Clarke tells the camera, “I’m a failure to the human race altogether.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Clarke ‘Came at the Officers With a Knife’
A police spokesperson told the Arizona Republic that Clarke said he “had a knife and was going to try and hurt herself. When officers approached the area inside the house where [Clarke] was, [Clarke] came at both officers with the knife and they fired their duty weapons and the female was injured.” Clarke later died of her injuries at a nearby hospital. Speaking to AZ Family, Detective Esteban Flores said that Mesa cops had been called to Clarke’s home for a possible suicide in 2014. He added that Clarke lived in an apartment that was attached to a house where a couple in their 70s live. They were home when the shooting took place. No officers were injured in the incident. Those involved have been placed on administrative leave, reports ABC Phoenix.
2. He Talked About Ordering Testosterone After Having Bad Experience With Gender Therapists in Arizona
In a video that was posted on Kayden Clarke’s YouTube channel on January 9, he talked about the problems he had with gender therapies who referred to his Asperger’s syndrome as a “disease.” Clarke also talks about his plans to order testosterone to begin gender reassignment.
A week before a his death, Clarke posted a comment on a meme on the Facebook page of Trans Awareness saying simply, “I have aspergers and I’m trans.”
3. Clarke Was Working at an Animal Rescue Center When He Was ‘Rescued’ by Her Rottweiler Samson
The president of animal rescue group HALO, Heather Allen told AZ Family on February 4 that, “This morning [Clarke] emailed me again and told me by the time I read it, it would be too late, and asked me to please make sure that I got her dog and took care of [Clarke’s] dog. So I tracked down [Clarke’s] address and called the police, and they indicated they already had someone on the way down there. And the next I heard that [Clarke] had been shot.” Another HALO employee, Erin Denmark, told AZ Family in June 2015 that, “[Clarke] was volunteering through HALO at the time and [Clarkes] fell in love and played with Samson and the bond couldn’t be broken so [Clarke] decided to adopt Samson. [Clarke] was rescued by Samson, really.”
4. Clarke Admitted in 2015 That He Tried ‘Suicide-by-Cop’ Previously
In 2015, a video that Clarke made went viral. He said in the clip that he was having a “melt down.” Clarke is shown being comforted by Samson in that video. In one, he mentions that he’s tried “suicide-by-cop” in the past. During an interview with the Huffington Post about her condition, Clarke said, “When I have a meltdown, I often have self-injurious behavior and I often self-harm.” He said at the time that he was diagnosed with the condition in 2013. On January 29, Clarke posted this to Facebook:
At work everyone coworkers and customers kept praising me for my upbeat happy go lucky positive attitude especially when I’m sick.
It’s so weird when I’m sick i make much more effort to make someone’s day better because who really appreciates a sick person touching your food.
I know I don’t. So i made jokes and was high on life so to speak. I may vent here on FB but in person I never put a negative attitude in public.
No one wants to hear it and it brings people down. However fb is my place to relax and vent about what drives me crazy. Hahaha.
According to her Facebook page, he was a native of Pella, Iowa. On social media, Clarke went by the nickname Kayden Clarke.
5. Her Mother Says Her Daughter Shouldn’t Have Been Shot Because He Wasn’t Posing a Threat
Jacob’s mother is now looking after Samson, reports the New York Daily News. Stacia Jacobs said, “Before the police arrived [Clarke] wasn’t posing a threat to the community at all. And the police came into her own place. They shot and killed a 24-year-old autistic, mentally ill individual whom they had been familiar with and aware of her special needs.” Stacia added, “I talked to her last night before and [Clarke] seemed fine.” Her mother mourned her daughter saying that he would do anything for other people. At the time of Clarke’s death he was working at Target and at Christmas time, Clarke delivered Christmas gifts and ornaments to needy families in Mesa. In a separate interview with AZ Family, Stacia said that Samson was the last piece of Clarke that the family had left.
According to the Autism Asperger’s Network, 1 in 500 Americans live with Asperger’s syndrome. However, the organization notes that number is likely higher because the syndrome has only been officially recognized as a condition in the last few years. More men live with Asperger’s, the ratio is thought to be 4:1. The condition was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2016 and was replaced with the term “autism spectrum disorder.”
A 2015 study said that 41 percent of people who are transgender have attempted suicide.