mental health

NYPD shoots mentally distressed man after responding to 911 call

NYPD shoots mentally distressed man after responding to 911 call
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On Friday, a New York City police officer shot and seriously injured a man who officials say was mentally distressed and holding scissors and a 12-inch kitchen knife outside a residence- services in the Bronx.

The episode happened after officers responded to a 911 call, officials said. When officers arrived, the man, who was holding the scissors and knife, ran towards them and then towards another man standing nearby, officials said.

Officers told the man to drop the scissors, but he did not, officials said. Instead, he turned and sprinted towards one of the officers, who fired three shots, hitting the man twice, officials said.

“This situation was fast-paced, volatile and dangerous,” said John Chell, police department patrol chief, at a press conferenceadding: “We have stopped a threat to this community.”

The encounter was caught on the officers’ body-worn cameras, and Chief Chell said police officials viewed the footage but did not release it for review. The man, whom police have not identified beyond the age of 39, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Chief Chell said police officials believed the man was from the facility and had “four prior arrests and a documented mental history in our department.”

The shooting came less than a month after officers shot another mentally distressed man holding a knife in the Bronx. In this case, officers shot the man, Raul de la Cruz, within 28 seconds of responding to a 311 call from Mr. de la Cruz’s father, who had sought medical attention for his son after his death. be argued with him. Young Mr. de la Cruz remained unconscious for days after the shooting.

“This is just the most recent tragic shooting of a person in mental health crisis by New York City police officers,” said Marinda van Dalen, senior attorney at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. , which represents the family of Mr. de la Cruz. . Ms van Dalen said the shooting demonstrated “the need for a non-police response in New York”.

The use of police officers to respond to calls involving people in mental health crisis has come under scrutiny in New York and elsewhere in the country due to the frequency with which such encounters turn deadly.

In New York in 2019, police fatally shot a Bronx fitness instructor who had battled mental health issues. The officers involved in the shooting will face a disciplinary trial next week. Officers also shot a man known to have mental illness in 2018.

When police respond to calls about people in emotional distress with sirens and flashing lights, and surround them while making demands, Ms van Dalen said, tensions can escalate quickly.

“There are alternatives and they are working in other communities,” she said.

A relatively new program in New Jersey aims to prevent such encounters from becoming deadly by pairing police officers with certified mental health screeners.

But in New York, officers are often the first to respond to people in mental distress. Police responded to just over 171,000 calls involving so-called emotionally disturbed people, or EDPs, in 2022, compared to about 158,000 such calls in 2021, according to department data.

Friday’s shooting was the latest of several recently carried out by police, including three on April 13 alone. The shooting that day involved a gunman at a Bronx subway station; a man who stabbed a security guard in Queens; and a 78-year-old Brooklyn man whose nephew called police to say he believed there was a burglar at his uncle’s house. The man shot in this case died.

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