Thursday, December 08, 2005

Air marshals kill man with bipolar disorder

Rigoberto Alpizar’s death is making headlines because he was killed by federal air marshals after making a bomb threat on an airplane.

But is it possible that his death is more the result of an old mental health treatment system than new security measures?

People with severe mental illnesses are nearly 4 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement officers than the general public. Much of that is because people are too often required to deteriorate to dangerousness before they can receive help – and then the people who are on teh front lines are not mental health professionals, but law enforcement officers.

We will be watching this story for more details.