Kansas lawmaker interested in writing ‘Joey’s Law’

Justice for Joey (KSN Photo)
Justice for Joey (KSN Photo)

OAKLEY, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been little over a  month since Joseph Weber was shot and killed, and about three weeks since the Ellis County Attorney announced no charges will be filed in the shooting.

On August 18, Hays Police tried to stop Weber for having expired car tags.

Weber didn’t stop, lead police on a chase and refused to follow commands. He was shot and killed.

The officer didn’t know Weber was autistic, and Weber likely didn’t know what was happening.

KSN’s Amanda Aguilar reported, at the beginning of this month, that Weber’s family wanted to a create “Joey’s Law” to let officers know if someone has a disability. Now, that push is moving forward.

Rep. Gail Finney has already expressed her interest in writing the bill in honor of Joey.

Weber’s father, John, said Finney plans to present the bill after elections. He added: “Which Nancy and I would be able to be there when it’s presented.”

Finney told KSN, “This could possibly happen again, unless we do something to curtail this type of incident. I do think there’s a solution we can come up with that could work for law enforcement and work for families or persons with disabilities.”

Finney said they’re currently researching ways to alert law enforcement when they could be interacting with someone who has a disability, this includes looking at what other states are doing. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done, but Finney said it’s a step in the right direction.

“We don’t have all the answers right now,” she said. “This is just one step in trying to improve relationships between the police and try to protect families as well.”

Justice for Joey organizers have been relieved to see law enforcement and government officials working together to support the Weber family.

“Unfortunately, it took an incident, as such, to bring this to attention but that’s always how it works right? There has to be a negative to bring about a positive outcome,” said organizer Duane Dinkel.

John said he knows none of this action will bring back his son but it could help save another life, and that’s helped him move forward in the grief process.

The chairman of the Kansas Democratic Disability committee reached out to the “Justice for Joey” campaign right after Joey’s death. David Mulford said he wanted to help, but it had to be after the investigation was complete. Organizers said they’re thankful Mulford kept his promise when he talked to Finney about “Joey’s Law.”