Isabella Tichenor

Photo: An African-American girl with light-brown skin, brown hair tied into two small buns. She is smiling, showing a small gap between her front teeth. She is wearing a leopard-print sweater.Name: Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor.
Died: November 7, 2021.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Suicide (After long term bullying).
Location: North Salt Lake, Utah, USA.

Details:
Izzy, a fifth-grader, was constantly bullied at school for being autistic and being black. She reported the bullies multiple times; the school did nothing, and a teacher even joined in. Her mother talked to the principal; again, nothing was done.

Isabella died by suicide at the age of 10.

References:
Teachers Told 10-Year-Old Student With Autism She Smelled & Needed To Bathe Before Her Death By Suicide
School of Black Utah student who died by suicide allowed bullying ‘on any ground’ to go unchecked, report finds
Report reveals teachers told STUDENT, 10, she smelled before suicide
Amid ‘personal trauma,’ investigation finds ‘failures to protect Izzy’ at school
Investigation of Izzy Tichenor’s death says Foxboro brushed off bullying reports
Romel W. Mackelprang: Discrimination against the disabled is worse that the disability itself
Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles speak out on death of bullied 10-year-old Utah girl
Girl, 10, hangs herself after being ‘bullied over her autism and race’
Community mourns Utah 10-year-old who died by suicide after her mom says she was bullied for being Black and autistic
Autistic 10-year-old dies of suicide, mother lashes Davis School District

Jenoah Donald

Photo of a young man with light-brown skin and dark-brown eyes, wearing a baseball cap and gray shirt. He has a scanty mustache and chin beard. His ears are pierced, but with no jewelry in them. He is smiling slightly. A creek and some greenery are in the background.Name: Jenoah Donald.
Died: February 12, 2021.
Age at death: 30.
Cause of death: Police shooting.
Location: Hazel Dell, Washington, USA.

Details:
Jenoah was driving down a neighborhood street when he was pulled over by the police–ostensibly, for a broken taillight.

The following is the story is as it was told by the police: Jenoah had made no hostile moves when the officer began repeatedly yelling at him to show his hands; then the officers demanded he get out of the car. Jenoah refused. The officer grabbed his arm and tried to pull him out of the car. Jenoah tried to pull his arm back, and the officer punched him in the face. Jenoah kicked the officer away and started the car, trying to drive away. At that point, the officer shot Jenoah twice in the head.

Jenoah was taken to the hospital, where he died after a short time on life support.

Jenoah’s family filed a lawsuit against the police department. The police should not, they say, have escalated the situation the way they did; they should have used their training, and if they had, Jenoah would still be alive.

Editor’s note: Even when reading the police narrative of Jenoah’s death, I noticed exactly what Jenoah’s family did: The officers deliberately escalated the situation; Jenoah seems to have reacted primarily with attempts to get away from the officer who was manhandling him. Instead of politely explaining the problem to Jenoah, they seem to have immediately begun yelling at him about keeping his hands in view, and then kept making demands to an overwhelmed autistic man who responded by simply attempting to escape. It was the police who initiated violence with that first punch, and the police who ended the encounter by killing Jenoah. In their report, the police specify that they were in the same neighborhood as a house that had been the subject of many calls. The subtext seems to be that they were in a “bad neighborhood”, and Jenoah was a black man.

References:
Family of Jenoah Donald files federal suit claiming wrongful death by sheriff’s department
Clark County to cover costs for sheriff, deputies in Donald wrongful death lawsuit
Jenoah Donald decision
Family of Jenoah Donald, man shot and killed by Clark County deputies, files lawsuit

Iyad Halak

Photo of a young man with tan skin and short black hair; his expression is neutral.Name: Iyad Halak.
Died: May 30, 2020.
Age at death: 32.
Cause of death: Police shooting (Unarmed).
Location: Jerusalem, Israel.

Details:
Iyad was a student at a special education institute. He was walking to school when police yelled at him to stop. Not understanding, or perhaps surprised and confused, Iyad ran and was pursued by the police until he ran into a dead-end alley. He died from one or more of the seven shots discharged at him.

Police claim they saw Iyad holding a weapon, but he was unarmed. The shooter has been charged with second-degree murder.

References:
Trial against police who killed special needs e. Jerusalem man continues
Trial opens against policeman for killing special needs e. Jerusalem man
Police officer indicted for death of special needs student Iyad al-Halak
Israeli Cop Who Killed Autistic Palestinian Man Is Charged
Prosecution leans toward 2nd degree murder for officer who killed Halak
No Justice No Speech: Autism A Deadly Hazard When Dealing With Police
Israeli minister says sorry for police shooting of unarmed Palestinian
Gantz expresses sorrow over police killing of East Jerusalem man with autism
Police officer under house arrest after killing of special needs East J’lem man
Israeli forces kill unarmed autistic Palestinian man
Killing of unarmed, autistic Palestinian in Jerusalem sparks outrage
Teacher says she shouted, ”he’s disabled!’ before cops gunned down Palestinian

Kevin Marshall

Marshall, KevinName: Kevin Marshall.
Died: July 4, 2019.
Age at death: 20.
Cause of death: Murder (Run down with car).
Location: Newton County, Georgia, USA.

Details:
Kevin was at a 4th of July celebration. He was talking to a neighbor when the neighbor’s boyfriend, enraged that she was talking to a black man, began beating him up. Marshall walked away; but the man got in his car and ran him down, killing him.

Kevin’s mother says he will be remembered for “his selfless acts, radiant smile, and warm spirit.” He “loved family and… little kids, and he loved going to church.”

Kevin’s killer was arrested after fleeing across state lines and charged with malice murder.

References:
Driver hits, kills 20-year-old man with special needs on July 4th, police say
Police: Woman missing after boyfriend accused of killing man with special needs
Sheriff: Suspect intentionally ran over, killed special needs man
Autistic man viciously attacked, run over by fleeing suspect
Mother of man killed in hit-and-run makes desperate plea for driver to come forward
Murder victim’s mother calls her son’s death a hate crime
Man wanted for hitting, killing autistic man captured in New York
Man Wanted for Running Over, Killing Autistic Black Man with His Truck Arrested in New York
Georgia man wanted in fatal hit-and-run caught in New York
Murder suspect found in upstate New York
Newton County hit-and-run suspect arrested in New York
Suspect accused of running over special needs man arrested in New York
Suspect fled Georgia after allegedly killing an autistic man, later found in NY

Abdirahman Abdi

Photo of Abdirahman Abdi, a man with very dark skin and short curly black hair. He is wearing a white T-shirt and has earbuds in his ears.Name: Abdirahman Abdi.
Died: July 24, 2016.
Age at death: 37.
Cause of death: Death in police custody; during beating/restraint.
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Details:
Abdirahman was a Somali-Canadian Muslim. Along with his family, he had traveled to Canada as a refugee from Ethiopia in 2009.

Abdi kept to himself. He was shy, especially around women or people he didn’t know well. He had worked at a car wash, but lost the job when the business shut down.

On the day he died, Abdi went to a coffee shop he often visited. He approached a couple sitting at a table and began to talk to them, then reached out toward the woman to shake her hand. When she drew back, Abdi left, and she called the police, apparently unnerved by his odd behavior and thinking that Abdi had intended to assault her.

Police arrived and Abdi ran from them, trying to get home. They chased and caught him, using batons and pepper spray and beating him with fists and billy clubs. Abdi began begging, but he spoke in Somali and the police could not understand him and most likely did not care to listen even if they could have understood. A bystander tried to tell the police that Abdi was mentally disabled, not a criminal, but because he was also Somali, he translated the Somali “mentally ill” incorrectly and told the police officer that Abdi was “a crazy man”. What he had meant to say was that Abdi was only confused, not a criminal; the officer heard that Abdi was dangerous. Despite the bystanders’ attempts to help and Abdi’s pleading, the officers continued to hit him.

Abdi passed out from the beating after about ten minutes, and instead of administering first aid, the officers handcuffed him. Another ten minutes passed before they tried CPR, but Abdi was already dead. An ambulance was called to take his body to the hospital, leaving blood stains on the pavement.

Abdi’s probable autism was never publicly acknowledged because people from Somalia, where he comes from, often don’t openly talk about mental health, and there is no word for autism in Somali. Socially awkward and disabled, he always greeted people with the exact same “Hi, how are you today?” He was polite and quiet. He was variously described as “mentally ill”, “mentally disabled”, and “autistic”.

Abdi’s Somali Muslim community has held vigils and protests and placed memorials to him. They report they have become more afraid of police since Abdi died.

“He was very nice, very peaceful,” a local shopkeeper said. “I think he will go to heaven.”

The man who beat Abdi to death was charged with manslaughter, but acquitted. A civil lawsuit is planned.

References:
‘When will our lives matter?’: Pain and heartbreak follow Ottawa officer’s full acquittal in Abdirahman Abdi manslaughter trial
Man near death after police beating: Witnesses
Mentally disabled Somali-Canadian dies during violent arrest
‘All of us are hurting’: Abdirahman Abdi mourned at funeral
‘We are scared of the police’: Community reels after Abdirahman Abdi’s death
2 officers under investigation in death of Ottawa man identified
Witnesses recount Abdirahman Abdi’s ‘gruesome’ encounter with Ottawa police before his death
Death of black man in Canada after arrest sparks race debate
Let death of Abdirahman Abdi be last of its kind
More focus needed on mental health after Abdirahman Abdi’s death, advocates say
SIU investigates after man critically injured in police incident
Vigil held in Montreal for Abdirahman Abdi, who died after struggle with Ottawa police

Canada police officer charged in death of mentally ill black man