Justice for Natasha McKenna

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Natasha Mckenna, a 37 year-old mother from Alexandria, Virginia living with mental illness, was murdered during a struggle with six police officers on February 3rd, 2015 while naked, handcuffed, and restrained. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression at age 14. The police departments involved were fully aware of her struggles with mental illness.

The Virginia medical examiner's office determined that her cardiac arrest was caused by 4 uses of a stun gun. No one was charged for the death of Natasha McKenna. The officer that delivered the lethal tasering, Lt. Lucas Salzman, is still gainfully employed by Fairfax County Police Department (salary of over $120k), interacting with young community members, and even posing for photo ops with female prisoners. Sheriff Kincaid has ironically recently spoken at a League of Women Voters event on destigmatizing mental illness, but has not commented on Natasha McKenna’s death outside of the conclusion of the department’s report.

We demand justice for Natasha McKenna and accountability for her murder; we condemn the failure of the Fairfax County Prosecutor's Office to bring criminal charges against Lucas Salzman and the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office.

We call for the reopening of this case and a legitimate criminal investigation of the officers involved. We call for their termination. We call for the mayor and city council to address the use of unnecessary force and the violation of Natasha McKenna's Constitutional 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. We call for the reallocation of FCPD funds into training mental health professionals and social workers to provide public community services, to prevent police force against the mentally ill. We call for the public officials of Virginia that in any way contribute to the standing and funding of its police departments hold officers like those involved in this case accountable. We call for the U.S. Department of Justice to address these grievances and enact comprehensive policy for mental health calls, beyond jurisdiction of shielded and untrained police departments.

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