So-called ‘suicide by cop’ cases highlight problematic police response to mental illness

So-called ‘suicide by cop’ cases highlight problematic police response to mental illness

March 14, 2015
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A protester raises his fist while kneeling in an intersection with fellow protestors demonstrating against the shooting death of Anthony Hill by a police officer, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Decatur, Ga. A police officer responding to reports of a suspicious person knocking on doors and crawling on the ground naked at an apartment complex Monday just outside Atlanta fatally shot Hill. Officer Robert Olsen shot Hill twice when the man began running toward him and didn't stop when ordered, DeKalb County Chief of Police Cedric Alexander told reporters Monday. No weapon was found, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

When a Georgia police officer shot and killed Anthony Hill outside of Atlanta earlier this week, their interaction followed the script of countless others before it.

Someone called the police to report that Hill, a black Air Force vet with a history of bipolar disorder, was running around a residential complex — naked. Police later said that he was acting “deranged” and that he lunged at the officer who shot him. Hill was unarmed and evidently in the middle of a mental breakdown, but he ended up dead instead of in a mental healthcare facility.

This is an increasing occurrence, as mentally ill people regularly fail to receive the care they need and end up in often deadly encounters with law enforcement.

[keep reading at VICE News]

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