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U.S. Cops Continue to Kill the Mentally Ill in Large Numbers — While Effective Approaches Are Ignored (Video)

Memphis and other cities have adopted programs that reduce these tragedies. Why hasn't New York followed suit?

Have a mentally disturbed relative?: Don't call the cops for help - There's a good chance they'll kill him or her.  (Photo by David Goehring)
Have a mentally disturbed relative?: Don't call the cops for help - There's a good chance they'll kill him or her.
(Photo by David Goehring)

By Terrell Jermaine Starr
Times Square is a national landmark that welcomes millions of tourists each year. On Sept. 14, 2013, however, visitors witnessed a major flaw in how the New York Police Department deals with the mentally ill at Times Square.

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Glenn Broadnax was having an psychological "episode" at Times Square in New York City. Broadnax
 pulled an 'invisible gun' on officers and they shot him three times, and also shot two bystanders.


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Glenn Broadnax, 35, was walking in and out of traffic when he was confronted by police officers. They eventually opened fire on him and missed him, but hit two women bystanders, who survived. Video of the shooting went viral and critiques over how poorly the officers at the scene dealt with the situation followed.

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Dallas cops were called by a mom of mentally ill man to assist in getting him to the hospital. When the man emerged fiddling with a screw driver, instead of simply stepping back and saying, "Can I help you? Is there a problem?" the cop jumped at the opportunity to kill a black man and get a "death notch" on his belt. The man was murdered in cold blood
in front of his mother, who had called the police for help in getting a mentally disturbed relative to the hospital.

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Glenn Broadnax, 35, was walking in and out of traffic when he was confronted by police officers. They eventually opened fire on him and missed him, but hit two women bystanders, who survived. Video of the shooting went viral and critiques over how poorly the officers at the scene dealt with the situation followed.

"Cops don't know enough about the mentally ill," Eugene O'Donnell, a former NYPD cop and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in Manhattan, told CBS News' Crimesider at the time.

Broadnax, who was unarmed, was charged with wounding the bystanders who were shot by police. It was a perverse form of justice, but you could count Broadnax lucky in one way. He narrowly escaped being one of the 56 mentally ill New Yorkers who were fatally shot by the NYPD that year. It was a significant drop from 83 people in 2012, but a Brooklyn lawmaker says that’s still not enough.

“We would like to see that number at 0,” State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn told AlterNet.Parker is hoping a bill he introduced in 2013 requiring all police officers in New York state to undergo Crisis Intervention Training, an intensive week-long course that trains officers on how to deal with mentally ill people in distress, will be signed into law by the end of this year.

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