On Saturday, over 200 people rallied in New York City to stop police brutality against the mentally ill. Many of the people in attendance had lost friends and family to police brutality.
For example, John Martin lost his 63-year-old uncle, James Owens to a police bullet. Owens had struggled with addiction and mental illness for years. Martin said:
“(He) was gunned down like a wild animal in his own home. He was supposed to be protected. He wasn’t provided without that assistance.”
Owens had become agitated on a new medication and police were called in. First, they tasered him, then when that didn’t work, they shot him.
The protesters gathered at the Flatbush Gardens Houses on Saturday to mark the spot where Dwayne Jeune was gunned down by police just last month.
Carolyn Tomas, Jeune’s cousin, said:
“We are really hoping that we put a stop to NYPD killing of not only the mentally ill but innocent people as well.”
The march was organized by Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is currently representing four families who lost loved ones to police brutality.
“Only 13% of NYPD officers have been trained how to deal with emotionally disturbed people. That is unacceptable for the people of New York. One hundred percent of police officers must be trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people.”
“When a family calls 911 for help they don’t want to see their loved one killed by police.”
We need to train our officers to deal with the mentally ill to prevent more lives from being lost.
Featured image via Twitter.