Life, death and men­tal ill­ness

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “LAPD clears two in man’s death,” June 6

De­cid­ing be­tween the men­tally ill Ezell Ford and the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cers who shot and killed him in Au­gust 2014 ig­nores the real prob­lem. The po­lice acted prop­erly to­ward a man who they said was reach­ing for an of­fi­cer’s gun.

The real is­sue is the way we treat the men­tally ill in our so­ci­ety.

When the po­lice are con­fronted with out-of­con­trol, men­tally ill peo­ple, what can they do? A sick per­son can be quite danger­ous. In Cal­i­for­nia, we need to get back to the days when the men­tally ill could be kept in cus­tody and treated be­fore be­ing re­leased on the streets.

Many home­less peo­ple are men­tally ill. Where is the help for them?

Our law­mak­ers must rec­og­nize the prob­lem, open up the hos­pi­tals and pro­vide help for the men­tally ill. Oth­er­wise, th­ese in­ci­dents will con­tinue to hap­pen.

Pa­tri­cia LoVerme

South Pasadena

As noted in the front­page ar­ti­cle about Ford’s death, the of­fi­cers in­volved in the shoot­ing told in­ves­ti­ga­tors they de­cided to de­tain him be­cause they be­lieved he was try­ing to dis­card nar­cotics as he walked.

Huh? How could they con­clude that what­ever he might have had in his pock­ets was an il­le­gal con­trolled sub­stance?

Later in the ar­ti­cle, at­tor­ney Larry Hanna is quoted as say­ing that “his clients had lit­tle choice but to make con­tact with Ford when they saw him turn away and ap­pear to con­ceal some­thing.” This con­tra­dicts the of­fi­cers’ state­ment, as ap­pear­ing to con­ceal some­thing seems to be the op­po­site of try­ing to dis­card some­thing.

In ei­ther case, Ford’s act of merely turn­ing away from the of­fi­cers was in­suf­fi­cient to jus­tify fur­ther ac­tion. No fur­ther po­lice ac­tion, no shoot­ing death.

Noel John­son

Glen­dale

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