We, in the PWD Philippines community, condemn the shooting of Edwin Arnigo, an 18-year old young man with autism. In the news report, Edwin was seen by a witness to have been “bearhugged” by a policeman. The bullet that fatally hit Arnigo was determined to have been from the service firearm of Police Senior Master Sergeant Christopher Salcedo. Edwin’s death is senseless and very disturbing.
Reports said Edwin was normally afraid of policemen, more terrified with guns. His parents and even his teacher knew that it would be out of character for Edwin to be mischievous and entangled with anything illegal. No drugs, no trouble.
Even the statement of the police was baffling and not much details were provided. All we know is that he was shot and has died, because, according to the police, he tried to grapple with a cop’s gun, the narrative that has been used to explain every shooting involving teenagers. None of us in the community give credence to that old, overused story.
This only strengthens the fact that persons with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities are the easiest targets of abuse and violence, simply because they cannot articulately express themselves and that their testimonies are not given as much weight as a person without disabilities.
We in the PWD Philippines community mourn the loss of another person with disability. We demand justice for the family of Edwin and that an immediate investigation be done to determine what truly happened.
We appeal to the Philippine National Police to please provide PWD awareness and sensitivity training to their men and women on the field to avoid needless deaths from persons who are unable to discern danger in such situations.