Henderson is filled with luxurious resorts, migratory ponds, and bicycle-friendly paths. But the suburb is not a happy place for Judy McKim, 58, or her son. She said:
‘I had to let the neighbors know what goes on in this little house on the corner.’
One of her friends phoned police to report a domestic disturbance, originating from inside of McKim’s home. Judy McKim said,
‘I wanted to make sure that they knew everything. That he is still in diapers, doesn’t understand words, doesn’t understand what a gun is.’
Unfortunately, it was a normal episode for the nonverbal 28-year-old man. His mother said:
‘Zach is non-verbal with an IQ of 17. A woman who has never seen an autistic rage called in domestic violence on my son and police officers came in very gung-ho.
‘There were three police officers on my son’s bed with their knees on his chest.’
She said that her son has an extreme case of autism. He remains an infant with a diaper and a pacifier. When Zachary was two days old, McKim adopted him. Since then, she has been his caregiver, and she “can’t imagine losing her son.”
Most experts agree that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are complex disorders of brain development that cover a wide range of symptoms and degrees of disorders. One in 68 children will have some form of autism in 2016, according to the CDC. These symptoms can be difficulties in:
‘Social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.’
The police report said that Zach had “fits of rage” lasting for an extended period of time, 20 minutes. However, the police officers who responded to the erroneous call “never witnessed Zach hurt or hit anyone.”
Not surprisingly, the report omitted any mention of police “physically interacting with Zach.” In fact, the report stated they never touched Zachary. Henderson police do not wear body cameras.
After police arrived, McKim said that the officers made an effort to restrain him. McKim said this about the altercation:
‘He is in a diaper, along with the pacifier, and the cops are kneeling on my son and one of them reaches for his gun because Zach was fighting for his life.
‘He’s autistic, he doesn’t know what is happening. He doesn’t know what police is.’
Authorities took Zach to the hospital, where he was held two days, according to the police report.
That is when McKim decided to write the following message across her garage, warning police:
‘Autistic man lives here – cops no excuses.’
Not only that, she has placed dozens of signs across the house to warn the police about what is really going on with Zach. She never wants a repeat of the interaction between Zach and the officers. McKim said:
‘I don’t like doing this. I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that everyone knows, I’m embarrassed that I’m on TV. I’m embarrassed that you guys are seeing my life, but that’s reality.’
After hearing about news reports, a Henderson Police Department spokesman said that they decided to reach out to McKim and further investigate the matter. But at this time, she has not filed a formal complaint.
Even though having her private life splattered across the television embarrassed McKim, she said that she hopes this helps other autistic families with autistic children at home.
Check out this video about the altercation: