After 370-lb Mentally Ill Man Shot and Killed by Seattle Police, Department Admits Police Are Ill-Equipped to Deal with Mentally Ill Suspects

Comments

1
The phrasing in this story really grates on me. It talks about "mentally ill people". What? Are they like French people, dead people, cancer-ridden people, murderous people, hateful people, bad teeth people, loveable people, etc? When you talk about a person who has an illness or a condition, you don't go call them "diabetic people" or "cystic acne covered people". You acknowledge their humanity and say that they are people that have a condition, like diabetes, acne, or a mental illness. Having a mental illness is a condition, not a classification into a certain type of human being. People that have mental illnesses are still human beings and they aren't really that different. Stop calling them by a classification (like "mentally ill people") and instead acknowledge that they have a condition ("person with a bipolar disorder"). You might not think this phrasing is important, but it helps to prevent people from seeing those that have mental illnesses as being Others, Who-Are-Different. This type of thinking perpetuates the stigmas of all diseases, including mental illness.
2
Shades of the Eleanor Bumpurs case in NYC circa 1984--An "emotionally disturbed" person with a dangerous weapon in hand threatens a cop with harm after attempts to subdue without deadly force, but the disturbed person attacks or appears to attack anyway and the cop has no choice but to defend himself in the best way he knows how.

Families need to do more to take care of business instead of letting their spawn's problems escalate to the point that the cops need to be brought in, e.g., the military vet with dementia who pulled a gun on a cop. You can give cops some de-escalation training but it is not nearly as effective as the family getting the disturbed person some mental health treatment/incarceration.
3
Maybe don't give guns to people that aren't well equipped to handle their job?
4
"Department Admits Police Are Ill-Equipped to Deal with Mentally Ill Suspects"

The only thing surprising here is that SPD admitted this.
5
Maybe get the cops some better shoes? How embarrassing for the department that all it takes is some wet grass for an officer to fall on his ass.

@1,

What's your suggestion when the writer doesn't seem to know from what illness that individual suffered? And if I see someone who appears to have an illness and I don't know what that illness is, I probably would describe that person as an "ill person" (probably not a "sick person" since that connotes something else). Does that mean that I enjoy stigmatizing ill people?
6
What's the crisis response when a cop comes across a mentally ill man trying to impregnate another man by putting his penis in the other one's ass?
7
@1 Yes, but having acne doesn't typically cause someone to take their father hostage and threaten his life.

Obviously we don't know if what happened is exactly as the police described, but it doesn't seem like an impossible scenario. Given SPD's record, though, they don't deserve too much benefit of the doubt.
8
@6, You spend five hours a day thinking about this, don't you?

Congratulations, you win the prize for the stupidest, most out-of-context crazy response in the history of your whole species of stupid, out-of-context crazy people, not just in the "mah butt is foah exit only" category. How do you say "non sequitur" in Klingon? That's how far off you are. And yet, and yet, so close to the bone. Your own.
9
As the population continues to age, and as more and more vets develop PTSD from our unending foreign wars, this is just going to get worse.

@6 obviously lives in Eymanitis, a suburb of Red Idaho.
10
Yes, but having acne doesn't typically cause someone to take their father hostage and threaten his life.
@7: Nor does mental illness, asshole.
11
I believe @2 has the right of it. Regardless of reason / excuse, this man's behavior was unacceptable. It would be wonderful if he could have received the help he needed - but he didn't. And he paid the price nature charges for all living beings unsuited for their environments.

I hope the SPD officers involved don’t lose too much sleep over it. They have an impossible job.
12
Families can't force people to get evaluation/treatment if they don't want it. No one can, except for MHPs(Mental Health Practitioners given that charge by governments) AFTER the person has shown they're a danger to themselves or someone else.
13
@2,

Anyone over the age of 18 years is an adult and free to go on or off their meds as the please. Unless they actually do something the courts won't intervene and commit them and if the court does finally intervene they typically don't do it for longer than a few days. There is no mental health care system in this country anymore. There hasn't been one since Ron Reagan decided to de-fund and dismantle it.
14
Damn, the police need better shoes.

Beyond that -- sounds like a complete clusterfuck. I'm glad they tried to use a taser first, but putting 8-9 bullets in the guy and strays into neighboring houses is unacceptable.

I don't think we should make them follow Barney Fife's example -- one bullet, kept in the pocket -- but maybe they shouldn't have so many bullets in their guns if they are going to go shooting up the neighborhood like that.
15
And he paid the price nature charges for all living beings unsuited for their environments.
@11: Are you pro-eugenics? If you say no, then you are a hypocrite. If you say yes, then you are an asshole of the highest order.

Isn't it amazing how people will openly say things such as people with mental illnesses don't deserve to live? I somehow doubt that you would say that people with cancer don't deserve to live. At what point did you decide that the world would be better off without those who suffer from mental illness? What other people that have certain diseases or conditions would the world be better off without?
16
One part of "violent 370lb knife wielding man" seems to be confusing everybody? Jesus. That's like a horror movie right there. I'm not sure there IS training for that.

I'm as cynical about SPD as the next lefty, but you guys seem to expect the average cop to be some sort of expert non-lethal all-purpose ninjas for every scenario. I trained with cops for a dozen years. Well. They can do a lot better, sure. But these kinds of expectations where they can handle every single situation like they are PhD's. It's just not possible.

Again. Knife wielding. Violent. 370 fucking pounds!

I'm sad for this kids family for sure and I wish there were better mechanisms for families to deal with disturbed family members (believe me, I've way too personal experiences on that). But still. Not to be cold, but part of me is glad, one way or another, that guy is no longer walking the streets. I tangled with some big dudes but... well, holy shit. That's NFL linebacker size. And possible a ticking time bomb.
17
@13: There wasn't a mental healthcare system even then. All that happened was that people were locked in asylums so nobody had to worry about them or ever know how their rights were being violated.

If you want effective mental healthcare, it has to be done in community. I know that mental hospitals are a popular topic right now, but the truth is that they were only meant for emergency conditions where people are at an immediate risk to hurting themselves. The skills learned in a mental hospital (at ~$1500/day) aren't the same skills a person needs to survive day to day in the real world. That can only be done through outpatient treatment, which nobody wants to fund. If you want to help someone, you help them deal with their life as it occurs, not take them out of it and put them in a total control environment for a couple of months and then drop them back into a hellstorm when they are released.

Wait, wait. I think I missed your point. You weren't actually talking about treatment. You just wanted to get them back in cheap asylums where you could forget about them, right? Because if you were actually talking about treatment, you would talk about funding outpatient treatment so that conditions don't progress to need hospitalization. Instead you only talked about how hard it was to lock people up, so obviously 'treatment' has a different meaning for you.
18
@17,

Considering that he was under court-ordered mental health care, which he ignored, what do you propose the state should have or could have done other than institutionalize him?
19
And anyway, I retract my statement @5. I don't know why the unpaid intern didn't mention that the man was suffering from schizophrenia.
20
Beyond his mental illness, this guy was also a level three sex offender who attacked a female jogger on a secluded trail last year, tackling her to the ground and shoving her head in the dirt before she was able to fight him off. Strange that unpaid intern neglects to mention this. I guess it doesn't fit the usual Stranger police brutality narrative.
21
@10 It did in this case, delirious. The guy was a schizophrenic violent sex offender, not sure how you're equating him to an asthmatic.
22
@21: And was he violent because he had a mental illness? Is that what you are trying to imply?

There is no evidence to support your conclusion. People with many conditions commit violence. But we don't causally link them except in the case of mental illness. The sad thing is that the mental illness link is fallacious. The risk of violence by someone with a mental illness isn't higher than that of the average population. But that isn't enough to satisfy your witch-hunt is it? You think the existence of a mental illness, in and by itself, is enough to explain everything about a person, including violence.

Do you know what actually does predict violence? Previous criminal behavior. So was this man a high risk for violence? Yes! But not because of a mental illness.

All that your witch-hunt and desire to clamp down on the civil liberties of people that have mental illnesses accomplishes is to scare away the majority of people that have a mental illness from seeking help. Let me repeat that: the majority of people that have a mental illness do not get help because they are afraid of discrimination and stigma. Do you think that the statements in this very thread might affect that stigma, such as talking about how a man with a mental illness deserved to die (@11 and @16), how people with mental illness don't deserve the civil liberties of 'normal' people (@2, @12, and @13), or associating mental illness with violence (the post, @7, and @21)?
23
@22 -- If you nominate a phrase to describe the condition where someone perceives their surroundings in a way that leads to dangerous anti-social outbursts and impairs their ability to make rational decisions while under stress,

And somehow explains the seemingly irrational behaviors that often lead to these kinds of tragedies,

And doesn't somehow stigmatize persons with related but not-quite-the-same illnesses (or differences),

then I'm sure the commentariate will gladly replace "mentally ill" or "psychotic" with that phrase.

Until then, understand we understand the difference between the 98% of people with mental illnesses who never physically harm anyone but themselves and the 2% who make the news when they scare the shit out of us.

Unfortunately, there are some varieties of mental illness that include paranoia, poor impulse control, and tendencies toward violence against others.

So please, suggest a phrase we can all agree on and let us get back to kvetching about the police.
24
@23: You again associate mental illness with violence despite the evidence to the contrary. It is so ingrained in your thinking that even when you are presented the evidence to the contrary, you still feel the urge to attack people with mental illnesses. Then you show callous disregard to the effects of your discrimination and demand the right to continue to stigmatize people based on your unsupported fears.

How the fuck do you expect me to reply to this? Read the DSM to see how the recognized mental illnesses are diagnosed. You will not find murderous rampages listed as a symptom anywhere.

What you are doing is equating mental illness with being a criminal or a bad person. Before you post again, I would like to know how much you have studied psychology or psychiatry. My guess is that you are an ignorant asshole who doesn't know shit about mental health, but you still feel you have some right to spout off about shit you don't understand.
25
I love how the intern doesn't drop the loaded word "allegedly" until it came time to describe the guy's violent behavior.