After years of self-medicating – my son tragically shot and killed Officer Kim in an effort to get the police to kill him. If anyone of the nunumerous Hamilton County, Ohio agencies had paid a little more attention to my son’s needs, or at the very least, allowed me to assume custody this may not have happened. Hamilton County’s refusal to act is truly what killed my son and Officer Kim. Hamilton County Government’s desire to increase the prison population is why both my son and Officer Kim are no longer with us. I did everything I could within the bounds of the law and my hands were tied. So here I am today. A heartbroken father in the fight of my life. I will fight until the life leaves my body to bring awareness to the damage that comes with viewing repeated violence to a child. I will fight to let people know that mental illness undiagnosed and untreated is dangerous to the individual and/or the community. The biggest fight is to expose the pipeline from children involved with CPS to area prisons. Here is our story.
My son was killed in what is has been labeled a suicide by cop on June 19, 2015. Unfortunately, a Cincinnati Police Officer was killed in the process of my son’s death. The problem with this view of my son’s death is that while these are the facts of June 19th, this is not the whole truth. The truth is that Hamilton County, Ohio was a willing conspirator of both my son’s and Officer Kim’s death. Hamilton County Child Protective Services may not have pulled the trigger, but the county certainly had a large part to play in both of their deaths. Here is his story.
TrePierre was 11 years old when I went to his school to throw a pizza party for his class. He came and told me that it hurt when he sat down. He further explained his mom’s boyfriend had severally beaten him. We went to the principal’s office to check him out and it was then that I observed the bruises on his legs and back. I contacted Child Protective Services (CPS) to try and get the kids removed and placed with either me. After 10 separate CPS investigations, I gave up hope that CPS could help my children.
Shortly after TrePierre’s 12th birthday, I was informed by the kids that their mother was using drugs and her daughter had been molested by her then boyfriend. I went to court to try and get custody of my children. My case was dismissed three times after, TrePierre’s mother refused to come to court
There were more than 35 different CPS investigations into the home, but nothing was ever done. My son started showing signs of mental illness at 16, but his mother’s solution was to allow him to smoke weed and drink. This self-medicating was not best for my son, but after trying to go through the court system, his mother cut all communication between my son and his sister and myself.
Why? The only conclusion that I, a reformed felon, could draw is that the state wanted my son and others like him to remain in traumatic environments to heighten the chance of them becoming criminals. Why would I make that statement? My son, all children are worth more to Hamilton County, State of Ohio and the United States Government as a convicted criminal than he is as a tax paying low-income citizen. It has been proven that early intervention with children who have experienced traumatic event do much better with therapy. It has also been proven that early intervention for children with mental health concerns, is the best way to help them live a productive adult life. If this has been proven, then why wouldn’t Hamilton County Family Courts or Child Protective Services do what they can to ensure that these children receive the support that they desperately need? The answer is sick and twisted. The answer is why do anything that could possibly lower the prison population when the state make such a profit off of the prison population? Here are some facts:
The State of Ohio Revised code 2151.03 defines, in part, “neglected/endangered or abused child” includes any child:
- Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted by other than accident means, that is inconsistent with the history given of it
- Suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare because of the acts of his or her parent, guardian or custodian.
- Who, because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare
Emotional abuse is defined as:
‘Mental injury’ means any behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorder in a child caused by an act or omission that is committed by a parent or other person who is responsible for the child’s care.
The Federal Government defines child abuse or neglect as:
- Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
So as you see TrePierre was indeed neglected by his mother but also by the CPS system.
Studies show that children such as TrePierre are shuffled through the Pipeline to prison. “Zero tolerance policies increase the number of School Resource Officers (SRO) in schools, which increases the contact a student has with the criminal justice system. Students may be referred by teachers or other administrators but most often zero tolerance policies are directly enforced by police or school resource officers. The practice of increasing the number of police in schools contributes to patterns of criminalization. This increase in SROs has led to contemporary school discipline beginning to mirror approaches used in legal and law enforcement. Zero tolerance policies increase the use of profiling, a very common practice used in law enforcement. This practice is able to identify students who may engage in misbehavior, but the use of profiling is unreliable in ensuring school safety, as this practice over identifies students from minority populations.”
If these problems aren’t identified, are ignored and unreported, if a child is neglected or abused at home or having any mental health issues they are going to have behavioral problems.
“School disciplinary policies disproportionately affect Black and Latino youth in the education system a practice known as the discipline gap. This discipline gap is also connected to the achievement gap. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued a brief in 2014 outlining the current disparities. Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. The Advancement Project found that “In the 2006-2007 school year, there was no state in which African-American students were not suspended more often than white students”. On average, 5% of white students are suspended, compared to 16% of black students. Black students represent 16% of student enrollment, and represent 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest. Combined, 70% of students involved in “In-School arrests or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino.” The majority of these arrests are under zero tolerance policies. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School-to-prison_pipeline_-_cite_note-:5-10)
“The rate of black youth committing suicide has never been higher. A 2015 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that for the first time, the suicide rate of black children in between the ages of 5 and 11 had doubled between 1993 and 2013 — while the rate among white children had declined. Suicides by hanging nearly tripled among black boys in particular. These findings were so surprising to researchers that they spent an extra year re-analyzing data just to double check themselves, only to find the same results. The most recent census data found that black youth are killing themselves far more frequently than their elders — and suicide has become the third leading cause of death among black people between the ages of 15 and 24.
These sobering numbers reveal how mental health problems have been quietly chipping away at the young black population over the past decade. However, in many black communities, community health experts say mental health remains a deeply stigmatized “white people problem,” or a personal weakness, rather than an illness. And little is being done at the community health level to shift this perception.” https://thinkprogress.org/why-are-so-many-black-kids-dying-from-suicide-6145b78764f6#.9l2xi6oo4
“Our Depression is Different. Risk factors for Black males can look different than traditional markers of mental health concerns. This is important as depression is often seen as the precursor to suicidal behavior. Furthermore, anger, irritability and engagement in violence can all be unsuspected symptoms of depression.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-johnson-ii/gone-too-soon-black-males_b_8025362.html
TrePierre never verbalized that he needed help. He often alluded to the fact that life was tough and being an adult was over whelming, but never said I need help. I believe that he felt why even bother to voice my feelings and who would really care. He had lived his youth being disappointed by those who loved him and a system that was to protect him.
My plight is to bring awareness to the failing system that brings despair to our children. The hopelessness begins at an early age as these statistics show. As an abused child myself, my story includes lack of intervention from Children Services, family members and others in authority as well. I understand how his feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and abandonment can lead to thoughts of suicide, lead to anger and it led me to prison.