‘A talented, goofy kid’: family of Ryan Gainer, autistic teen killed by police, speak out


Explore Our Galleries

A man stands in front of the Djingareyber mosque on February 4, 2016 in Timbuktu, central Mali. 
Mali's fabled city of Timbuktu on February 4 celebrated the recovery of its historic mausoleums, destroyed during an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and rebuilt thanks to UN cultural agency UNESCO.
African Peoples Before Captivity
Shackles from Slave Ship Henrietta Marie
Kidnapped: The Middle Passage
Enslaved family picking cotton
Nearly Three Centuries Of Enslavement
Image of the first black members of Congress
Reconstruction: A Brief Glimpse of Freedom
The Lynching of Laura Nelson_May_1911 200x200
One Hundred Years of Jim Crow
Civil Rights protest in Alabama
I Am Somebody! The Struggle for Justice
Black Lives Matter movement
NOW: Free At Last?
#15-Beitler photo best TF reduced size
Memorial to the Victims of Lynching
hands raised black background
The Freedom-Lovers’ Roll Call Wall
Frozen custard in Milwaukee's Bronzeville
Special Exhibits
Dr. James Cameron
Portraiture of Resistance

Breaking News!

Today's news and culture by Black and other reporters in the Black and mainstream media.

Ways to Support ABHM?

By Sam Levin, The Guardian

Ryan Gainer
Ryan Gainer was killed by police on March 9th.

When Ryan Gainer was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, he was nonverbal, and his family all learned sign language to communicate with him. But after the southern California boy learned how to speak at around age four, he was a “ball of energy” who never stopped talking, his older sister Rachel said.

He loved saying “hi” to neighbors and strangers alike, and as a young teen was known as the student who greeted everyone with a “good morning” and a smile.

Ryan’s family spoke of his early years and bright presence two weeks after his life was cut short at age 15, when sheriff deputies were called to his home and fatally shot him during a mental health episode. The tragedy has sparked outrage and escalated concerns about how US law enforcement uses force against people with disabilities.

“He was a funny, talented, goofy kid – just a beautiful soul. He saw the good in everyone,” Rachel, 34, said at her home in Apple Valley, a remote desert town two hours east of Los Angeles. “We want accountability.”

Ryan was killed on 9 March when officers responded to a 911 call from one of his family members, who reported he was breaking things in their house and “hitting” his sister, but that she wasn’t injured. Body-camera footage showed that two San Bernardino sheriff deputies shot Ryan within roughly five seconds of seeing him. The videos captured someone inside the home saying Ryan had a “stick”, then Ryan appearing in the doorway. He moved toward a deputy, who immediately threatened to shoot – and fired as he ran from Ryan.

Check out the full article.

Learn about Black history in our online exhibits.

More breaking Black news.

Comments Are Welcome

Note: We moderate submissions in order to create a space for meaningful dialogue, a space where museum visitors – adults and youth –– can exchange informed, thoughtful, and relevant comments that add value to our exhibits.

Racial slurs, personal attacks, obscenity, profanity, and SHOUTING do not meet the above standard. Such comments are posted in the exhibit Hateful Speech. Commercial promotions, impersonations, and incoherent comments likewise fail to meet our goals, so will not be posted. Submissions longer than 120 words will be shortened.

See our full Comments Policy here.

Leave a Comment