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37-year-old schizophrenic man died after an altercation with police El Monte, CA

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Another death by police of a person with schizophrenia near me. Last year Kelly Thomas died in a beating by Fullerton police in Orange County. El Monte is in Los Angeles County.

There was a push by some people to implement Laura's Law after Kelly Thomas' death. I think the rationale was if he had been given outpatient treatment he wouldn't have been there.

There was police training and 2 officers are being charged. Officer Manuel Ramos, 37, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli, 39, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force. They have pleaded not guilty.

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these type of deaths have happened here too

floridly psychotic citizens who are shot......yet they could have been tasered

or perhaps a stun gun (not sure how that works)

there are non lethal ways to overpower people

I hate it when these needless deaths occur and feel

so badly for the parents

I do believe that more liberal use of injected antipsychotics would be helpful

I don't think giving mentally ill people the freedom to starve, sleep on the streets,

hallucinate, and be victims of crime or the police ----that is not freedom

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From the family's description, this does sound like excessive force. They did use a taser, as mentioned above. Four officers versus one person is usually enough to subdue a subject, but someone suffering psychosis or mania, whether drug or MI induced can be a violent thing (I realize psychosis is usually not violent). However, in my husband's department, choking is considered deadly force. I'm surprised that they used that. It sounds like there is more to this story, but something definitely went very, very wrong. And I agree that police definitely need much, much more sensitivity training when it comes to handling the MI.

However, I will say this. People who are psychotic or manic, as I said above, can be exceptionally violent, regardless of the cause. People wieding knives or guns or looking for suicide by cop are wielding deadly force, regardless. Using a taser is not always the answer, and not just because they are MI versus on drugs or hardened criminals or whatever. Tasers shoot arrows into a subject with electrical lines back to the gun which discharges an electrical charge. Sometimes, one or both of the arrows will not penetrate the clothing and skin, lessening or or removing the jolt altogether. An officer would never use a taser in the face of a gun, and in the face of a knife, that could be that last choice he ever makes. There was a recent case where two officers responded to a well known location of a BP patient (16 yo) who they had previously disarmed of a knife. They met him in the basement and he closed the distance and killed one of the officers with a knife before the officers could unholster their guns. Twenty one feet closing distance used to be considered deadly distance. It is now thirty feet. Choosing a taser over a gun is a judgment call. And not all departments have tasers. My husband's department didn't until two years ago. They were second on scene to a man wielding a knife on a freeway who closed rapidly on the two officers closest. They had tasers and used them and it worked. If my husband had been there first, his only choice would have been to shoot.

Also, a lot of people do not respond to tasers. Whether on drugs, MI or just really fucking pissed off, they don't. My husband was repeatedly assaulted in the back of a cruiser by a man with a huge rap sheet for assault on officers while they were driving to the jail (his partner was driving). My husband was using the taser (which didn't connect properly) so then he was just dry stunning the guy straight to the body and it just wasn't doing anything at all to the guy. Sometimes this happens. My husband got the guy pinned to the other door and pushed the muzzle of his .40 into the guy's head for the rest of the ride, but there are seriously people out there who can go through the fight like this. Psychosis fits this bill sometimes. MI doesn't make these people any less dangerous.

All of that said, there is clearly no excuse for the abuses described in the article above. And we all know of plenty of cases where those things have happened. My husband has become phenomenally sensitive to MI on the job because of me and all the books he has read because of my MI. All of his officers know that I am MI (they only know PTSD, which they can relate to even if they won't admit it; one of their officers was shot in the head and killed a few years ago and another lost his leg after a suspect deliberately hit him at 80 mph). They know my husband comes in late many nights because he has to take care of the kids and get them to bed before he can come to work. They don't talk about it, but they see him handling MI calls very differently when it's a more non-threatening situation (looking for a suicidal person, someone having a breakdown that they need to take in, someone off meds but cooperative, angry but non-threatening, etc.). There is no more eye rolling and "nutso" comments and stuff like that. Everyone is much more gentle and respectful with the patients and the families as a result. And they recently had a mandatory training that I swear my husband and I could have taught. It also had a panel with patients and family that my husband said was very good. I'm proud of my husband because he has been pretty open with his commander, whose wife is also ill, and his close friends. All of his officers have really followed his lead.

This has actually caused me worry, though. I worry sometimes that his empathy might cloud his judgment in his officer safety skills. This may sound harsh, but someone who is truly threatening deadly force is threatening deadly force, regardless the reason. It is sad, but that person is a threat to anyone, and my husband's job is to nullify that threat, regardless the reason, not to allow that person to make me a widow and my children orphans, so the person can go on to hurt someone else. That's the truth whether the person is MI, on drugs, or a criminal.

BPL, I agree that our mental health system is completely fucked up. When Ronald Reagan emptied the mental health hospitals of the mentally ill (many PTSD Vietnam Vets) while Govenor of California, he thought he was saving the state a lot of money. The costs in terms of homelessness, exacerbated mental health problems, criminalization of the poor, etc. has skyrocketed. We need a new system. It is inhuman in so many ways.

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One more thing. My nephew, nineteen, is unstable BPI, with many violent manias and hospitalizations over the years. They have had to call the sheriff many times because he likes to chase his sister around with butcher knives. They all sleep behind locked doors. My sister cuts out and shows him articles about MI people shot and killed by the police for wielding knives. We all live in fear of him doing something irrepable during a mania that results in harm to others or his own death at the hand of a cop. I do understand the terror here so very personally.

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