How Do We Protect the Mentally Ill From Police Violence?

….In light of the publicity surrounding the killing by Toronto Police of Sammy Yatim in Toronto, the timing was perfect. And while there is no evidence that Mr. Yatim had a mental illness, his shooting has reminded everyone of all those with mental illness who have been shot by police. The Toronto coroner has called for a combined inquest into three recent deaths of mentally ill people at the hands of police — that of Michael Eligon, a 29 year old shot near Toronto East General Hospital in his hospital gown brandishing a pair of scissors; Reyal Jardine-Douglas, 25 who was shot by police as he jumped off a Toronto bus in 2010; and Sylvia Klibingaitis, 52 who was shot by police in 2011.

The case that was very similar to that of Mr. Yatim was of Edmund Yu, a man with schizophrenia, who threatened police with a hammer on a streetcar in Toronto in 1997. That inquest recommended that police have a mobile crisis team involving a police officer and a psychiatric nurse. Unfortunately, these teams only work till 9:00 PM.

by Marvin Ross, The Huffington Post

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  1. Kathy Hall says:

    There has got to be some changes made immediately to our police system. One crisis team is not enough, and working until 9:00 p.m. !!! Is this for real? At a time when mental illness is supposed to be front and centre in the “Bell Let’s Talk” program, suicide by young people has increased to an unbelievable number, and the entire education system is running programs, and working towards reducing Bullying, is this not all the same package? The fact that police have shot and killed any mentally ill person is absolutely unjustified under any circumstances. Why would any person, never mind a policeman, feel the need to shoot to kill a person who is armed with a knife while you have a gun and backup either with you or on the way? What on earth is going on in our world. Someone has to do something about this situation…….firstly, because these people should not be killed period, and secondly, because the taxpayer does not want to pay the multi million dollar lawsuits that will inevitably be laid against the police, and thirdly, where is police protection anymore? We were raised and raised our children to believe that if your in trouble, you can always trust a policeman. Really? Seems not if you don’t fit the mold, they shoot you!!!

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