• Last week Jasmine Patterson was charged with attempted kidnapping after an incident at a Burlington Coat Factory in Wichita, Kansas
  • A mother claims Jasmine asked her to call the police then grabbed her 4-year-old daughter’s hand and walked several feet inside the store
  • Jasmine has a severe mental disability with the mentality of a child between the ages of four and eight and does not understand the charges she is facing

In Wichita, Kansas, 30-year-old Jasmine Patterson is facing an attempted kidnapping charge after an incident that happened at a Burlington Coat Factory last Thursday. While many were quick to call Jasmine a mentally ill, deranged, kidnapper, the reality of the situation is that she is severely mentally disabled and does not even understand the charge she is facing.

It was reported that officers responded to the call of an attempted kidnapping at the Burlington Coat Factory near Kellogg and Rock Road around 1:15 pm. According to Wichita Police Department spokesperson Charley Davidson, a 28-year-old woman said Jasmine tried to kidnap her 4-year-old daughter. The woman claimed Jasmine instructed her to call the police then grabbed her daughter’s arm and walked several steps away.

Jasmine has the mentality of a child between the ages of 4 and 8. At the church Jasmine attends, the pastor’s wife says Jasmine constantly jokes about taking her husband. Jasmine also plays with other children at the church and in the community most likely due to the level of her mentality. During an interview with Jasmine, it quickly became clear she did not even understand the meaning of the word kidnapping.

Jasmine claims the mother of the child she was allegedly trying to kidnap was trying to steal a pair of shoes when the incident occurred. Some have asked why Jasmine did not have supervision, but she did. Jasmine’s sister was at the store with her. Due to the layout of Burlington Coat Factory, her sister was able to see her at all times. At no time was there any kind of disturbance that would lead the sister to believe there was an issue. The mother never even screamed for help as her child was allegedly being kidnapped. Instead, she walked straight to her car with her child before calling the police and did not notify employees inside the store.

So how exactly did a woman with such a severe mental disability end up facing such a serious charge? According to Jasmine’s sister, officers on the scene were extremely rude and did not listen when she tried to inform them of her sister’s disability. Officers conducted a roughly 15-minute long investigation before handcuffing Jasmine and taking her to jail. Jasmine remained in jail until she was bonded out over 24 hours later. Her family was told that she was held in the clinic of the Sedgwick County Jail.

Jasmine’s mother told discuss that in the past her daughter had always been taken to COMCARE or other special needs facilities in Wichita. Over the years, due to Jasmine’s disability, she has had behavioral issues in the past—and even gotten physical with officers while resisting detainment after believing officers were trying to hurt her—but has never been taken to jail. The family claims officers in her area know her well and know how to deal with her.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay told discuss the problem lies in the department’s funding. The department simply does not have the resources to train officers to recognize and deal with disabilities such as Jasmine’s in an appropriate manner. It is no secret that the WPD and current Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell have been in an ongoing battle over funding. The feud between the WPD and city leadership has become so bad that the Fraternal Order of Police recently endorsed Longwell’s challenger Brandon Whipple in next month’s election for mayor. The endorsement speaks volumes about the current relationship between the WPD and Longwell.

Ramsay has said he is committed to ensuring Jasmine does not end up in jail for the attempted kidnapping charge. Unfortunately, much like training his officers, the situation is out of his hands. Since the unidentified mother at least initially wanted to press charges Jasmine’s fate now lies in the hands of Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett. While her intention may not have been to commit the act of kidnapping, video surveillance from the store matched the mother’s claims of Jasmine grabbing her child’s hand and taking several steps.

Jasmine has her preliminary hearing on October 25 at 10:00 a.m. which advocates and activists in the area plan on attending. While the general belief is there is no way the prosecutor could press charges against Jasmine, sadly she would not be the first person with a mental disability to fall victim to America’s criminal system. Discuss has started a Go Fund Me to help Jasmine with her legal fees as currently she is forced to use a court-appointed attorney. Those that know Jasmine would prefer her to have a hired attorney that will do justice for her case. If you would like to contribute to Jasmine’s legal costs, you can do so here.

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