(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
A recent rash of 911 calls for assistance for people with medical and mental health emergencies that resulted in the patient being shot and killed by the responding police has sparked lawsuits for ending the drone wars and concerns for how police are trained to deal with the emotional disturbed.
Police Brutality, Mental Illness and ‘The Memphis Model’
by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, Democracy Now!
Elsa Cruz filed a federal lawsuit in New York this week, months after police shot her husband dead. Last May, Cruz called 911 asking for help with her husband, Samuel. She feared he hadn’t taken his medication while she was on vacation in her native country, the Philippines. Eight months, almost to the day, before Cruz was killed, not far away in Harlem, Hawa Bah called 911 to ask for medical help for her son, Mohamed. Rather than getting medical help, Mohamed Bah was confronted by the New York City Police Department. Within hours, he, too, was shot dead by police, hit eight times, once in the head. Mohamed’s sister, Oumou Bah, is suing the City of New York and unnamed police officers. While neither lawsuit will bring back the dead, they may prevent future deaths by forcing the New Rochelle Police Department and the NYPD to adopt an increasingly mainstream police practice for dealing with emotionally distressed people, called “The Memphis Model.”
In an exclusive interview Tuesday on the “Democracy Now!” news hour, I had the chance to interview Hawa Bah and Elsa Cruz. They were meeting each other in our studios for the first time.[..]
This is where “The Memphis Model” comes in. Maj. Sam Cochran is a retired officer with the Memphis, Tenn., police. In 1987, police responded to a man who was harming himself, and threatening others, with a knife. The police killed the man. Community outcry prompted the mayor to call for a solution. They developed the Crisis Intervention Team. Sam Cochran explained to me, “It’s a community program [with] three main partnerships: law enforcement, local mental-health services providers and also advocacy.” CITs put a trained officer or mental-health professional on the scene, to de-escalate a situation. Since its inception in Memphis, it has been adopted in more than 2,500 communities in 40 states, as well as internationally.