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Policing the mentally ill: a case study

Last summer, I wrote about the troubling case of the killing of Kajieme Powell at the hands of police in St. Louis. This occurred very shortly after the death of Mike Brown. Unlike in the death Mr. Brown, there was no ambiguity about the circumstances in which he died, for the entire interaction was caught on camera. You can view it for yourself here, although please note that it is graphic (though not gory).

At the time I wrote,

Those with professional knowledge can speak to it better than me, but I suspect the protocol in Britain would be to park at a relatively safe distance, order civilians to get back, call for back-up and specialist assistance, while monitoring to ensure that Mr. Powell poses no threat to himself or anybody else. What caused the situation to escalate to the point that the police felt so threatened that they needed to open fire on a mentally ill man carrying a knife at his side was the arrival of the police. There is a serious problem in how US police perceive and deal with "threats". Mentally-ill people, even ones with knives, are primarily a threat to themselves.

I came across this video today, demonstrating how British police handled a mentally-ill individual wielding a machete in the middle of the street in a very clearly threatening manner.

Posted by Filming Cops on Thursday, 29 October 2015

I don't need to say any more, for the videos speak for themselves.