A Rochester, N.Y., police officer stated he knew Daniel Prude had been “beforehand suicidal” earlier than his disastrous encounter with police and had spent hours a psychiatric ward the day earlier than. The loss of life of Prude, who suffocated after officers positioned a hood over his head, has highlighted a deep-seated drawback in lots of police departments: Armed law enforcement officials, drilled in strategies to subdue violent suspects, usually appear ill-equipped to cope with people who find themselves mentally ailing or in a drug-induced delirium, the New York Times reports. The Prude case has helped provoke the controversy over police coaching and whether or not duty for these sorts of circumstances needs to be diverted to psychological well being professionals. Supporters of “defunding” police have embraced that shift, as have others who’re against deep police price range cuts.
In New York Metropolis, there have been a number of current circumstances the place folks within the throes of psychological sickness died after encounters with responding officers. Individuals with untreated psychological sicknesses are 16 occasions extra more likely to die by the hands of police than different folks, says the Remedy Advocacy Heart. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged police departments to work extra intently with psychological well being and substance abuse specialists. “Persons are dying,” Cuomo stated. “That’s a reality. When all you’ve is a gun and a badge and the flexibility to arrest, that’s your solely answer.” Legal professionals for the seven officers concerned in Prude’s arrest say the officers knew Prude had taken phencyclidine (PCP}, and so they thought some strategies employed with mentally ailing folks wouldn’t work. Psychological well being professionals are on name for Rochester police to summon in such conditions. “They weren’t dispatched,” stated Willie Lightfoot Jr., chairman of the Metropolis Council’s Public Security Committee. “I don’t know why. I’m searching for solutions.”