Darius McCollum is NOT Dangerously Mentally Ill

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Darius McCollum is a 58-year-old Black man with autism. As a little boy, he was obsessed with trains, and he would hide in the NYC subway system.  Transit employees gave him keys and taught him how to operate trains, starting when he was 9 years old.  Eventually, Darius began taking over shifts for employees, and would take subway trains on scheduled routes.  At 15, Darius was arrested for operating a subway for an employee who had Darius cover their shift. Darius never told anyone how he knew how to operate trains because he didn't want to betray his “friends” who were having a child with autism take over their shifts. 

That arrest on his record made it impossible for him to do the only thing he loves to do- work for the NYC transit system.  But he continued to operate trains and buses for his transit employee “friends” who took advantage of his disability.  He continued to get arrested, spending years in abusive prisons that were not equipped to handle him. He never hurt anyone and never damaged any property- he usually took the vehicles on scheduled trips in place of employees, and always returned the vehicles. 

Two years ago, a judge ruled that Darius is “dangerously mentally ill” and he is now locked away indefinitely at a state asylum for the criminally insane, with the most violent and unstable inmates.  Darius is not, has never been, and will never be, dangerous, nor is he mentally ill.  He has a disability.

We demand NYS Attorney General Letitia James realize Darius is not dangerous, and stop keeping him locked up with violent inmates.


Free Darius Now