Why Are Police the Wrong Response to Mental Health Crises?
October 8, 2020
Over the last months, we’ve explored different conversations on the subject of policing: abolition, violence and accountability, protest and activism. Today, we’re exploring a topic that has gained more attention in the wake of Daniel Prude’s death in March at the hands of the Rochester Police Department: the startling connection between mental health 911 calls and police brutality.
Studies show that nearly 50% of police victims are living with a disability, predominantly a mental health disability. In many ways, 911 has become the only option for people looking for mental health crisis intervention. And police often arrive at the scene armed with deadly weapons and a lack of mental health training. The results are devastating.
But there is hope. There are new alternatives to policing that can provide real care if we invest in them. Joining us on this episode to break down the issue is Gregg Bloche, a professor of law at Georgetown University and a mental health care policy expert, and Ellie Virrueta, an organizer with Youth Justice Coalition.