The Cook Country State Attorney's office cleared the two police officers who shot and killed autistic teenager Stephon Watts of any wrongdoing after reviewing an independent investigation by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force. Police say that the use of force was necessary because Stephon lunged at them with a nine-inch steak knife:
The family disputed that. They said the teen was just holding a butter knife and that deadly force wasn't necessary. Watts' mother, Danelene Watts, said the knife her son was holding didn't at all resemble the knife shown in a photo released Tuesday by Calumet City police.
"My husband knows. I know. His brother knows what kind of knife it was. We were there," she said. "My son has been murdered by trained police officers. ... A great injustice was done to my baby."
Stephon's sister Renee contacted me-- she is especially interested in hearing from other autistic people who have suffered violence at the hands of police and from their families. Her family has set up a site for him here.