Civil Rights Champion Areva Martin Alongside Community Activists, Demand Full Transparency and Accountability in the Heart-Wrenching Shooting of Autistic Teen

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Los Angeles, California, March 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In light of the recent and tragic event in Apple Valley, California, where 15-year-old Ryan Gainer was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy, Areva Martin, a prominent civil rights attorney and advocate, has issued the following statement expressing profound outrage and calling for immediate action, emphasizing the need for full transparency and accountability:

“We stand united in our shock and heartache over the tragic loss of young Ryan Gainer, a 15-year-old with a love for cross-country running and aspirations of engineering. Ryan’s death is not only a personal tragedy but a glaring symbol of the excessive force too often deployed by law enforcement, especially towards individuals with disabilities or mental health challenges.

“The fact that Ryan, who had autism, was shot and killed while holding a gardening tool in what was clearly a state of distress, raises grave questions about the adequacy of law enforcement training and their ability to de-escalate situations involving vulnerable members of our community. The partial release of body-camera footage without the crucial moments leading to Ryan’s death is not transparency; it is a deliberate obfuscation of the truth. The family’s report of a delay in providing medical aid to Ryan and the subsequent invasive treatment they endured is both shocking and unacceptable.

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“We stand in solidarity with the family and activists and demand a full and transparent investigation into this tragedy, including the immediate release of all body-camera footage to provide a clear account of the events that led to Ryan’s death. We stand with Ryan’s family in their time of grief and call on the community to rally for justice and accountability.

“Furthermore, we extend our support to Ryan’s family and commit to assisting them through this incredibly difficult time. We cannot and will not stand by while families are torn apart and young lives are cut short. It is time for meaningful action and reform to ensure that law enforcement is properly equipped to protect and serve all members of our community, regardless of their mental health or disability status.

“We call on the public, advocates, and officials alike to join us in demanding justice for Ryan and a commitment to change, to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. Our hearts go out to Ryan’s family, and we pledge to stand with them every step of the way in their quest for answers and justice.”

Areva Martin is a distinguished civil rights attorney, commentator, and advocate known for her relentless pursuit of justice and her unwavering commitment to the rights of the underserved and marginalized in society.

For more information, contact [email protected].

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Special Needs Network, Inc. is a nonprofit grassroots 501(c)(3) organization responding to the crisis of autism and other developmental disabilities in underserved communities. We recognize the intersectionality of individuals with disabilities and that their fight for disability rights is inextricably tied to the fight for racial justice and the civil rights of all people. For more information, visit www.snnla.org

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CONTACT: Special Needs Network [email protected] 

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