24 March 2015

Cops and Mentally Ill People Are A Volatile Combination

About half of the people shot and killed by police, about 350 per year, are mentally ill.  Many are unarmed or armed only with knives, and would have been a threat to no one but themselves if police had not intervened.  But, often police respond with overkill, like when a bipolar naked black man rushed towards a policeman in Atlanta, and he was shot and killed.

It may not be easy to learn better ways to respond to these incidents, but it is necessary.  A large share of all people involved in the criminal justice system have some sort of mental illness.  Almost every law enforcement officer will encounter many mentally ill people acting oddly in the course of a career.  Learning tactics to avoid making situations that they become involved in worse is a critical skill that somebody needs an incentive, by some means, to develop.

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