SALT LAKE CITY (NewsNation Now) — A 13-year-old Utah boy with autism was shot by police after his mother asked for help getting him to the hospital for mental health treatment, police body camera footage released Monday showed.
The newly released bodycam footage shows Salt Lake City officers chasing 13-year-old Linden down an alley after they arrived at the home on Sept. 4. Officers yelled for him to get on the ground. A series of shots were fired and Linden collapsed.
“I don’t feel good, I don’t feel good,” Linden can be heard saying. “Tell my mom I love her.”
He survived but suffered from broken bones and pierced organs, the family’s attorney has said.
The video was made public under a Salt Lake City ordinance requiring the release of video from police shootings within 10 business days.
Warning, the video below contains graphic content
The bodycam footage came hours before new de-escalation tactics were due to take effect for Salt Lake City police, which is also cooperating with an independent investigation of the shooting.
His mother, Golda Barton, called 911 and said she told dispatchers her son was having a breakdown and she needed help from a crisis-intervention officer.
On the 911 call recording, she said she has called the cops before on her son and that he has previously run away from officers.
“My biggest fear is that, I don’t know I just don’t want him to die,” Barton said. “But the times they’ve came he has been gone, like he’ll take off and go running. That’s why I don’t want to go there…I just don’t want to alarm him.”
“That’s why we need a mental health worker,” she said. “It’s super important.”
The Salt Lake City officers who arrived had some mental-health training but were not specialists in crisis intervention.
When police arrived Barton warned them that her son said earlier that day that he had a gun and had threatened to shoot her male coworker. But she told officers she thought it was a BB gun or pellet gun.
As heard on the bodycam footage, officers said they would have to act as though the boy did have access to a real gun. Barton told officers the boy was “triggered” by seeing police.
“He sees the badge and he automatically thinks you are going to kill him or he has to defend himself in some way,” she said. “He freaks out.”
Before approaching Linden, the officers can be heard on video discussing whether or not to approach the boy because they were concerned that the incident would result in a shooting.
“Especially when he hates cops, it’s probably gonna end in a shooting,” one officer said.
In the police report, police do not mention a weapon being found at the scene and there is no indication of a weapon in the bodycam footage.
As officers approach the house, one says he can see movement in the backyard. The officers start to run after the boy — yelling at him to stop and get on the ground. When they catch up to the boy, they ask him to get on the ground again.
Linden ignored them and continues walking before a series of shots ring out.
Linden, who the family wants to be referred to only by his first name, “was lucky to be alive,” his attorney Zach Weyher said.
Linden is still hospitalized.
“Whatever happened, it was a 13-year-old boy who was unarmed. The police were called for a mental-health call, not a criminal act,” Weyher said. “A child is laying in a hospital bed … there has to be a better response.”
The mayor of Salt Lake City, Erin Mendenhall called for a quick but thorough investigation about what happened Monday.
“I am profoundly heartbroken and frustrated,” she said. “It’s a tragedy for this young boy, for his mother and for families and individuals who have acute mental health needs.”
NewsNation affiliate KTVX and the Associated Press contributed to this report.