Monday, October 15, 2007

Policing Mental Illness

Once again we have incompetent untrained police dealing with folks who suffer from mental illness. The result is nearly always tragic. This is apparently becoming more of a problem as folks travel by air, in airports which are now modeled on old style State Security Gulags.

Vancouver RCMP uses Taser and kills man at Vancouver Airport

And this brings up again the dangers of tasers which can be another form of lethal force despite claims to the contrary.

Don’t Faze Me, Bro? Taser Business Rolls

OC inmate dies after being struck by Taser gun
A 28-year-old transient incarcerated at Orange County Jail for drinking in public has died after being subdued with a stun gun, authorities said Saturday.

"He was scheduled to be released today," said Damon Micalizzi, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The man's name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

The death was the county's second associated with a Taser gun in a little more than a month.

Officer injured in Taser demonstration

A police officer in the US who volunteered to be the subject of a Taser demonstration has suffered possibly lasting damage, including spine fractures after receiving a five-second discharge, according to a respected medical journal.

The 38-year-old victim was rushed by ambulance to hospital where a scan showed he suffered compression fractures in his spine caused by muscle spasms triggered by being Tasered in a training class.

Nine weeks after his injury he has continued to report significant pain.

Student shocked by school officer's Taser

Did a local school district police officer go too far by shocking an unruly student with a Taser? Some Katy ISD parents are sounding off.


The problem is a mind-set that excuses stun-gun abuse

Police Tasers, or stun guns, are the common denominator in a growing list of questionable, sometimes outrageous, incidents of police violence on individuals who appear to pose little danger, and on whom, in the same situations, the police would never take out a gun.

The case of David Shea (see box at right), whom Volusia County Sheriff's deputies Tased repeatedly, in his home, is just one such incident. The case of the University of Florida student who was Tased during a town-hall meeting last month is another. The case of a Flagler County special education student Tased for refusing to leave a classroom last year is another. The list quickly grows long. So does the list of names of victims, now longer than 200, who died when electrocuted by Tasers. The company that makes the guns, and the police agencies that use them, insist the weapons are nonlethal, that the deaths are the result of other causes -- drugs in the victims' systems, for example.

A lesson learnt from Gotbaum case – do not travel by air unless you have to and never lose your patience because they can do anything they like

Commentary: Lacking Mechanisms to Deal With the Mentally Ill

I couldn’t help being shaken by the “accidental death” of Carol Ann Gotbaum, in a holding cell at a Phoenix airport. From what I can gather, she acted in an erratic and irate manner, a similar manner to a mentally ill person in crisis. It brought back memories of friends and acquaintances who are mentally ill and who died either while being restrained or in some other way because of the illness.

It is a universal story that goes along with mental illness that police or other authorities often treat an ill person roughly, and sometimes in a humiliating or even dangerous manner. I have heard a story of a young man in custody who died in the transport van due to overheating. I can remember three other mentally ill who died of a heart attack, either because of their psychotic episode or because of the health problems associated with their medication. I know of several others who committed suicide. Mentally ill people have died while tied down on a four-point restraint table; repeated checking is legally required in California to prevent this. It doesn’t always work.



ONLY A FEW people know what really happened Monday inside Ronald Timbers' home in Crescentville.

And one of them is dead.

Did Timbers, 15, pose such a threat to police and his mother that police had to shoot him in the chest and kill him? Did they try to talk him down and de-escalate the situation? Was he shot at the top of the stairs while holding a clothes iron, or when he charged down the steps toward the police, the iron held over his head like a weapon?

Man shot by police after Aug. chase dies

L.A. police shoot, kill mentally ill man


Cops and Tasers

Ban Tasers

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