“Kill the ill” is not a law enforcement mandate.
We cannot ignore the statistics, however, that half of the people killed by law enforcement in the United States are mentally ill.
We have such dystopic law enforcement results because we fail to train for crisis intervention, lack oversight, and, of course, we’ve cut back mental services nationwide.
I have known law enforcement agents, detectives and cops my whole life as a federal and state prosecutor and as a criminal defense counsel, and, given the resources, guidance and proper directives, they will do the right thing.
But these killings are distressing.
In Houston, Texas, for example, an officer shot and killed a pen-wielding wheelchair bound double amputee in the head when the police were called to a group home for the mentally ill.
In Saginaw, Michigan, six police officers gunned down a homeless, schizophrenic man in a vacant parking lot when he refused to drop a small folding knife. Sound familiar. Continue reading