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

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by liljim, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. liljim

    liljim Former Member

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  3. al66pine

    al66pine New Member

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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.
     
  4. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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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. :no:
     
  5. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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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.
     
  6. liljim

    liljim Former Member

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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.
     
  7. Sonya610

    Sonya610 Former Member

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    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.
     
  8. liljim

    liljim Former Member

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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.
     
  9. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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    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.
     
  10. liljim

    liljim Former Member

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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.
     
  11. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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    I am sympathetic for their difficult situation. However I am disappointed with the way they are behaving after the fact.
     
  12. liljim

    liljim Former Member

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    i agree.
     
  13. Dogface

    Dogface Active Member

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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!
     
  14. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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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.
     
  15. daisytrail

    daisytrail Former Member

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    Here is a legal expert (not from Texas) talking about options for families of the mentally ill:

    http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/component/content/article/358

    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.
     
  16. al66pine

    al66pine New Member

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    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.
     
  17. al66pine

    al66pine New Member

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    If a fam wants a result other than use of force or arrest, how can fam expect its desired result by calling LEOs to scene?
    How can family expect LEOs to get its desired result if the fam cannot get that result?
     
  18. daisytrail

    daisytrail Former Member

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    Therein lies the problem, imho. With HIPPA laws and no reasonable facilities and readily available beds in hospitals, the family is really caught between a rock and a hard place. In the link a posted previously, the point of calling the police is so the family may gain a position of legal leverage over the mentally ill person. I don't know about the financial position of the family in this case, but they likely had few options. Proper training for the police to deal with these specific situations is available in some communities and on some police forces. I don't know what specialized training these officers had before this call in dealing with the mentally ill, but certainly not raising one's voice is basic. This is a sad situation all around. Like any family, these people mourn the loss of their loved one.

    ETA: I want to hasten to say that I have not had a mentally ill family member actually live with me. I am, however, a member of DBSA (Depression-Bipolar Support Alliance) and I suffer from depressive illness myself. This group allows both people with mental health struggles and their family members to meet and find support and understanding together. My statements come from both work I have done in the past and from meeting with this very worthy group. I have a strong feeling of advocacy for the rights of the mentally ill, but I am neither Bipolar I or Bipolar II. These are the two most commonly recognized categories of bipolar illness. There is so much that people don't understand about the illness and many people are unnecessarily fearful of people with the disorder.
     
  19. KaaBoom

    KaaBoom `·.¸¸ ><((((º> ...·´`·.¸¸ ><((((º>...·

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    If your house caught fire would you call the Fire Department? If you answer yes, then do you consider the Fire Department to just be your personal servants? You just call them anytime, and just expect them to come and put out your fires?

    Of course you would, because thats what you are paying taxes for. And this woman is paying taxes too, and has a right to receive police and fire services too, as often as she needs them.

    This I agree with. Since I have very low expectations for American police. But that is not what should happen.
     
  20. daisytrail

    daisytrail Former Member

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    I missed this but went back and read and respectfully have snipped it for focus.

    Therein lies a huge problem. When people are afraid to call the police for help because of the possibility of an overreaction, of what point is there in having a police force at all. Do we want protection or do we want order? I am not implying that the two are mutually exclusive, but that the former should be prioritized over the latter. Otherwise, just call in an armored SWAT team and let them take out everything that moves. Order can eventually be very, very peaceful and quiet. It is a landscape with no life in it.
     
  21. KaaBoom

    KaaBoom `·.¸¸ ><((((º> ...·´`·.¸¸ ><((((º>...·

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    So what is a family supposed to do if they have a mentally ill violent family member who they can't control, and they can't call the police for fear that the cops will shoot him?
     

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