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  1. #1
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    TX - Dallas police shoot mentally ill man armed with screwdriver: old case, new video

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.2153201

    civil suit will fail i think, unless there is another video that shows something else.

  2. #2
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    June 14, 2014, Oak Cliff area of Dallas TX, LEO's body cam video released in connection w family's civil suit against LE

    "Shirley Harrison called cops because her son was menacing her..." Son = 38 y/o, and "bipolar and schizophrenic."
    Vid shows her "greeting police at her Oak Cliff, Tex., home." "Jason Harrison is right behind her, casually holding a screw driver in his hand, the video shows."
    Is it likewise accurate and fair to say that at that point, LEOs were casually carrying their duty weapons on their duty belts?

    LEOs asked/told him multiple times to put the screwdriver down.
    "...he lunged at them [LE] with a screwdriver..." and "was gunned down by two officers."

    "The family, who obtained video recorded by one officer's body camera, argues that the police used excessive force.
    "This is a perfect video for the Dallas Police Department to use in training as an example of what not to do," older brother
    Sean Harrison told The Dallas Morning News. "You don't yell at them — that only agitates them.
    " bbm sbm
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.2153201

    Re this situation, IIHC, LEOs said they had bn to home multiple times, similar calls, and last time son (or other at home) displayed gun.

    First this is a terrible shame. I cannot imagine being in the shoes of this family - not in any of the following:
    1. bipolar and schizophrenic 38 y/o adult son living at home or
    2. having on multiple occasions called 911 for police to respond to him menacing other members of household, or
    3. being a family member who phoned for assistance from LE, who ended up shooting him, resulting in his death.
    Doubtful that anyone wants to be a member of any one of those 'clubs' and certainly not a member of all three.

    From many sources, I've read about deficient programs for treating mentally ill patients in US and do not doubt that the criticism.
    I understand fam & friends cannot force person to seek diagnosis, to be treated, to take meds, to follow dr. orders, to be committed, etc.

    But when ppl ask 911 for LE to respond to one of these fam situations, what do they want and/or expect LEOs to do? IDK.
    IIUC, callers usu have already asked, told, ordered demanded the person to not harm, to stop attacking, to take their meds, to go to ER, etc.

    Who knows better than fam or household members what the prob is and how their behavior can be stopped or redirected? IDK.
    What do callers expect LEOs to accomplish, that they themselves cannot accomplish? IDK.
    Besides calling 911 for LEOs, is there something else they can do?

    Isn't part of the rationale for calling to get assistance from ppl (LEOs) with
    - means of encouraging or physically forcing compliance, to stop them from harming caller(s) & others?
    - authority to arrest,
    perhaps take into custody, if appropriate?
    Would it be approp for fed, st, muni law or PD policy to prohibit LEOs from using force in these situations?
    IDTS, but IDK.

  3. #3
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    I love how the brother scolds LE for not knowing how to handle mentally ill subjects. And yet this family has called them over and over for 'help' in dealing with their brother. If they are too afraid to do it by themselves, what do they expect LE to do if they get attacked? They know him better than anyone and what he is capable of --and they decide their only option is to call the cops over and over. Then when it goes bad, they sue them for not being able to handle the situation---the same situation they could not handle themselves, repeatedly.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  4. #4
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    One has to wonder if they consider the police their personal servants to be called whenever there are minor difficulties, the lady did not appear terrified to me, if she had been she would have gotten out of the house before the police arrived.

    When will people understand that when you call the police to your house there is a good chance they will shoot anyone that they feel threatened by including a crazy son with a screwdriver or a frightened dog that dares bark at them.

  5. #5
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    im not going to judge this woman, i have dealt with bipolar and psychotic people, schizophrenics etc - when you know them well you can tell when they are getting worse and you can tell when they are getting dangerous, but that doesnt mean you are terrified and have to run immediately for your life. also many times the only way to get them help is to involve police, she cannot on her own force him to get admitted to a hospital etc

    i havent seen any evidence that this woman felt like police were her personal servants to be called on a whim, that is a particularly and unnecessarily harsh statement in my opinion.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by liljim View Post
    i havent seen any evidence that this woman felt like police were her personal servants to be called on a whim, that is a particularly and unnecessarily harsh statement in my opinion.
    Well it sure looked like it to me!

    She doesn't even bother greeting the officers, she just walks out muttering "He's off the chain" and not bothering to make eye contact with them as she walks away.

    If that was a highly unusual call she would have explained what was going on and met the officers outside, instead she walks casually out and lets them "deal with it" likely because she has done that many times before.

  7. #7
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    it wasnt a highly unusual call, it sounds like calls just like it have happened dozens of times (not knowing the exact nature of all the calls), so yeah im sure she was exasperated, frustrated, probably embarrassed...

    if you look at it from a sympathetic standpoint her not greeting the officers warmly doesnt have to be a slight or an indication that she thinks of them as servants.

    letting them deal with it is exactly what she should do and you are right she has probably done just that many times before.

    i have no idea why someone would watch that and not only not have any sympathy for the woman but instead look to pass judgement on her, mind boggling.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by liljim View Post
    it wasnt a highly unusual call, it sounds like calls just like it have happened dozens of times (not knowing the exact nature of all the calls), so yeah im sure she was exasperated, frustrated, probably embarrassed...

    if you look at it from a sympathetic standpoint her not greeting the officers warmly doesnt have to be a slight or an indication that she thinks of them as servants.

    letting them deal with it is exactly what she should do and you are right she has probably done just that many times before.

    i have no idea why someone would watch that and not only not have any sympathy for the woman but instead look to pass judgement on her, mind boggling.
    I am frustrated with her because I saw her on the news, calling out the police as killers. She is passing judgment on them. And she called them REPEATEDLY to do what she was unable to do --control her son. I have compassion for the officers, whose own lives are turned upside down and are receiving derision and death threats, spurred on by the people they have been helping, dozens of times.

    And WHY is it that she should have the cops deal with her son? Are they psychologists? Therapists? NO. The reason she calls them is she is AFRAID of her son because he is a 'bi-polar schizophrenic, and he is off the chain'<<<<in her own words. SHE EXPECTS the cops to use force. That is why she calls them repeatedly. Because they are expected to take on a dangerous, erratic, chaotic schizophrenic situation. But after doing so many times in the past, this time, the subject lunges at them with a screwdriver, in a tight space. And they shoot in self defense.

    So NO, my compassion is with the officers, who are expected to repeatedly show up at her home to protect her from her son, but are then called out as killers when her son attacks them first.

    The family says the officers should have tried to 'deescalate' the situation first. Well, that is pretty hard to do when an out of control, mentally ill, large strong man is lunging at you with a sharp object. It is past the time for smooth talking and reassuring words.

    I have sympathy for the woman's situation but it angers me the way she used the officers to do what she could not--then trashes them, calls them killers, and publicly berates them in return.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  9. #9
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    i am able to be compassionate to both the officers involved and the mother, for the last time, if you are looking to pass judgement you will find reasons. if you are looking to be sympathetic you will find reasons for that too.

  10. #10
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    I am sympathetic for their difficult situation. However I am disappointed with the way they are behaving after the fact.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    I am sympathetic for their difficult situation. However I am disappointed with the way they are behaving after the fact.
    i agree.

  12. #12
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    What I try to do in these situations is think of what a regular, non LE citizen, would have been reasonably expected to do. While I do hold cops to a higher standard of following the law, IMO, they have every right to protect their life over someone trying to bring them harm. So I think of it like this, if I was acting crazy and my hubby called my best friend to come help calm me down, and she showed up and I had a screwdriver and lunged at her with it, she would be completely justified in shooting me!
    'Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us.' - Steven Tyler

  13. #13
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    By the way, I have a bi-polar, paranoid schizophrenic brother. My family has had to call LE in the past to help us. I am aware that the people we call have guns at the ready and might use them. I would hate for that to happen but I have to know it is a possibility if I call them to our home.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    I am frustrated with her because I saw her on the news, calling out the police as killers. She is passing judgment on them. And she called them REPEATEDLY to do what she was unable to do --control her son. I have compassion for the officers, whose own lives are turned upside down and are receiving derision and death threats, spurred on by the people they have been helping, dozens of times.

    And WHY is it that she should have the cops deal with her son? Are they psychologists? Therapists? NO. The reason she calls them is she is AFRAID of her son because he is a 'bi-polar schizophrenic, and he is off the chain'<<<<in her own words. SHE EXPECTS the cops to use force. That is why she calls them repeatedly. Because they are expected to take on a dangerous, erratic, chaotic schizophrenic situation. But after doing so many times in the past, this time, the subject lunges at them with a screwdriver, in a tight space. And they shoot in self defense.
    Here is a legal expert (not from Texas) talking about options for families of the mentally ill:

    http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.o...nt/article/358

    Try not to call the police or emergency mental health services unless the mentally ill family member is currently making some outward manifestation of the illness that can be construed as aggressive. First, practically speaking, the police or emergency services are not going to come out multiple times for the same problem, so a call for help should be at the time when it will be most effective. As noted above, the criteria for commitment require that the family member be "dangerous" or substantially unable to care for self. Just because the mentally ill family member is spewing insults, profanity or threats, does not mean that the police or emergency services will determine that the family member should be detained for a mental health evaluation. Unless there is a physical manifestation of the illness, there is no guarantee that the mentally ill family member will receive even emergency help.

    To be most effective, a call for help should coincide with an exact moment of physically aggressive behavior by the mentally ill family member. The perfect timing for the call would be for the police or emergency mental health services to arrive at the moment that the mentally ill family member is commencing to assault another family member or himself/herself. If this were to occur, the mentally ill family member would almost certainly be detained for emergency treatment, and there would be credible and disinterested witnesses for the commitment hearing. Of course, attempting to achieve the perfect timing for the call must be tempered with common sense so that physical harm does not occurs which could have been avoided.

    With respect to timing the call for help, the time of week also bears some mention. It is the practice in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions for commitment hearings for all persons detained between Thursday and Sunday morning to be held on Monday morning. It is also the usual practice for a person who is detained on an emergency basis to be involuntarily medicated with a powerful sedating drug, such as Halidol. This means that if one person is detained on Thursday and another is detained on Sunday, at the Monday morning hearing, the person detained on Thursday will have had three more days of medication than the person detained on Sunday. This will have a huge effect on how these two people present at the Monday morning commitment hearing. Therefore, from the family’s point of view, late Saturday through early Sunday is the best time of the week for an emergency detention, whereas Thursday and Friday are the worst.
    The above quote gives some idea of the hoops that families have to jump through in terms of "dealing with" their mentally ill family members. Yes, this is a police matter because the families of the mentally ill deserve police protection just as much as people who are menaced by abusive spouses deserve protection. Our right to be protected in our homes is just as important as our right to be protected in our neighborhoods.

    Until someone has dealt with the problem of a mentally ill family member, they do not understand what these families go through. If you have dealt with such a situation, you have all my sympathy. However, there are solutions that are less reactive than the police used here. They involve calling in a Crisis Intervention Team of officers (sometimes also with mental health professionals) to respond to these situations. These teams are well worth funding and supporting.
    Last edited by daisytrail; 03-19-2015 at 11:39 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by daisytrail View Post
    Here is a legal expert (not from Texas) talking about options for families of the mentally ill:
    http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.o...nt/article/358
    Yes, this is a police matter because the families of the mentally ill deserve police protection just as much as people who are menaced by abusive spouses deserve protection. Our right to be protected in our homes is just as important as our right to be protected in our neighborhoods.

    Until someone has dealt with the problem of a mentally ill family member, they do not understand what these families go through. If you have dealt with such a situation, you have all my sympathy. However, there are solutions that are less reactive than the police used here. They involve calling in a Crisis Intervention Team of officers (sometimes also with mental health professionals) to respond to these situations. These teams are well worth funding and supporting.
    Thanks daisy for the treatment link info and your personal input.

    re "Yes, this is a police matter because the families of the mentally ill deserve police protection."
    When this kind of behavior occurs, then recurs repeatedly, it seems to call for something other than
    LEOs knocking on door & trying to cajole or "talk them down." IDK what.

    ETA:
    re: "Our right to be protected in our homes is just as important as our right to be protected in our neighborhoods." Sounds good, but, but, but.
    Our "right to be protected in our neighborhoods" translates into our right to seek assistance from LEOs after a crime.
    No person has a "right" to have an LEO or two to accompany him/her in daily life - going to & from work, grocery, drycleaners,
    dropping off & picking up kids at school, at soccer, scouts, and visiting grandma in hosp, church, movies, etc.

    The "right to be protected in our neighborhoods" translates into after-the-fact help LEOs provide in getting info about crime, identifying attacker/robber/pickpocket/rapist/batterer, who committed physical crime against us, then locating & arresting the perp, involving prosecuting atty, criminal courts, etc.

    Is the "right to be protected in our homes" - against mentally ill household members - same as the "right to be protected in our neighborhoods" ?
    (Spousal or intimate partner dom violence or physical abuse is a different subject, imo.)

    re: "Until someone has dealt with the problem of a mentally ill family member, they do not understand what these families go through."
    I think the same is true re what LEOs deal w in responding to these calls (plus many other types of calls).
    Until someone has dealt with the problems LEOs deals w, they do not understand what these LEOs go through.
    Last edited by al66pine; 03-19-2015 at 01:25 PM.

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