Friday, January 20, 2006

Suicide by Cop

Sometimes, people with untreated mental illnesses provoke police into killing them, commonly called “suicide by cop.” This week a man in Texas who was off medication for bipolar disorder threatened a local school in an apparent attempt at suicide by cop.

One study examined more than 430 shootings by Los Angeles County deputies between 1987 and 1997 and found that incidents determined to be suicide by cop accounted for 11 percent of all police shootings and 13 percent of all fatal shootings.

A study in British Columbia found that 10 percent to 15 percent of cases where law enforcement officers acted with deadly force could be considered premeditated suicides.

Suicide by cop or attempts at suicide by cop are just one of the crises that law enforcement officers face each day when dealing with people with untreated mental illnesses.

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