Friday, February 29, 2008

Suicide by cop

Barron Harvey Davis had bipolar disorder and had taken more than 20 pills before he started shooting at a police officer.

Davis told family members over the phone that he wanted officers to kill him.

After he was tasered and taken to jail Davis continually pounded his head against a brick wall and had to be restrained. Davis later died in his jail cell.

A friend of Davis’ said his death could have been avoided if he was given proper care.
“I told them you need to do something to help him,” Graham said, explaining she told officers at the scene he had taken too many medications and was overdosing.

“We knew if they would have gotten him to a psychiatric care unit somewhere this probably would not have happened,” she said. “Who knows him better than we do?”

There’s little question Davis should have been getting care and treatment before he shot at officers and asked to be killed by police officers. Whether officers acted appropriately in this situation is up for debate, but the mental health community almost certainly didn’t.

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