Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tragic endings to a bad situation

Over the weekend we were reminded again of the role law enforcement is forced to play in dealing with severe mental illness. The failure of the mental health community to properly treat those with severe illnesses so often ends in tragedy across the country.

In Florida –
A sheriff’s deputy in Indian River County shot and killed Byruss Green, a man with a mental illness who had not been taking his medication.

In Illinois –
A jury determined that officers were not to blame in the March 2000 shooting of Joseph T. Zagar that had been called a suicide-by-cop. Officers had been to the home of Zager multiple times and had taken him in for mental health treatment. This time, Zager was threatening the officers with what they thought was a gun.

In Kentucky –
Brenda Joy Woosley, a woman with a mental illness had been driving erratically and avoiding police attempts to pull her over. Two officers fatally shot her after she drove her car into them.

In New York –
A man with a mental illness in Brooklyn was fatally shot by police officers after he repeatedly charged at them with a broken bottle. Before charging the officers, Dragan Kostovski stabbed his roommate.

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