According to a recent analysis of police killings in 2021, carried out by the folks at PoliceViolenceReport.org, the majority of police killings involve calls in which there was no crime or that the suspect is only suspected of a non-violent offense.
“Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenses or cases where no crime was reported,” the report states.
Time and again, police have proven their incompetence in dealing with mental health issues. Since 2015 alone, police in America have killed over 1,400 people during a mental health crisis. Many of these folks were never accused of a crime prior to police arriving on the scene.
As TFTP has pointed out, even cops who voluntarily attend Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), have shown that they are quick to the trigger when dealing with the mentally ill.
Fortunately, however, a video out of Cook County this week shows that the training may actually be making a difference now. The way police intervened in the video below was so professional and effective that the subject of the video — who was attempting suicide by police — actually asked the department to release it to show how well they handled the situation.
“Not every call is criminal in nature,” said Officer Ryan Huber, whose bodycam captured the video. “Sometimes it’s somebody who’s acting out or having some kind of emotional distress.”
That is exactly what was happening last month when police responded to a call about a man jumping in front of traffic and behaving erratically while walking down the street.
“Communications advised there was somebody standing in the middle of Mannheim road trying to jump in front of traffic,” Huber recalled. The man was threatening suicide. “He was walking toward me and he kept saying ‘Shoot me, shoot me, I just want to die.’”
Frequent readers of the Free Thought Project can predict what happens next in 9 out of 10 of these interactions. All too often police oblige and kill the person in distress. But not this time.
Huber, with the help of his partner and an officer from another department who helped direct traffic, used de-escalation and patience instead of force, yelling, and escalation.
Huber told reports with ABC 7 that his CIT training is what helped him engage the man without escalating — and it worked. All too often, police will engage someone like the man in the video below and will begin yelling and screaming, demanding that a person in a mental health crisis submit to their authority. This never works as that person is not being rational at the time and the yelling only makes their mental crisis that much worse.
The man swung at officers dozens of times who could have used that as a reason to escalate violence, yet they did not. Because officers chose not to engage violently, the man was not arrested and instead was given the medical help he needed.
“He was able to seek help, emergency medical treatment and psychological treatment for something instead of being injured by the police,” Huber said.
According to ABC 7, for the past several years, the entire Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department has gotten critical intervention training. Sheriff Tom Dart said there has been an increase in incidents where mental health is the issue.
“We get more and more calls where that is the whole reason we’re there,” he said. “We are here to help.”
Now, if we can just convince the other 700,000 officers in America to do the same thing.
If you or someone you know is in distress or contemplating suicide, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, where help is available 24 hours a day.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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