Justice for Jamal Williams

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Jamal Williams was a recent graduate of Western Michigan University, defensive lineman for the WM Broncos, and beloved friend throughout the campus community. Close friends of Jamal had expressed concerns in the past few weeks about his declining mental health and unusual behavior. On June 16th he was being treated in the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Munster, Indiana when a scuffle ensued with a nurse. Two retired police officers and security guards at the hospital, Ryan Askew and Benny Freeman, responded to the altercation in which one officer ended up shooting both Jamal and Askew.

Jamal was in the hospital because of growing mental health issues triggered largely by the flood of racial injustices being brought to the forefront recently. Jamal was murdered trying to get HELP. A psych ward should be a safe place for vulnerable people who may experience violent tendencies as a result of their condition and should be highly trained and experienced in subduing patients in an ethical manner. It is the duty of the hospital to treat all patients with dignity and respect. According to their own Patient’s Rights Statement, they failed to give Jamal the care he needed. https://www.comhs.org/about-us/patient-rights-and-information/patient-rights

Our Demands are:

1.WE DEMAND 2ND DEGREE MURDER CHARGES FOR OFFICER BENNY FREEMAN. 

2.We demand the firing of Benny Freeman from the mental health facility.

3.We demand accountability from the hospital for breaking its Patient’s Rights policy by putting its patients’ immediate safety at risk by allowing armed security guards to carry guns.

  1. a.    We demand they ban the carrying of guns by security officers.
  2. b.    We demand nonviolent methods ALWAYS be used first to subdue mentally ill patients with violent tendencies.
  3. c.     We demand an investigation of the hospital for breaking its nondiscrimination policy, as we believe Jamal would not have been treated with violence if it had not been for his race.

4.We demand retired cops not be placed in sensitive environments like schools and mental health facilities where our most vulnerable people go to be served and safe.

5.We demand accountability from the police reports & news outlets who originally released a false report claiming that Jamal had reached for an officer’s gun and shot him, which was later confirmed to be false. Benny Freeman murdered Jamal and officer Askew. This report further demonized a mental health patient.

Jamal Williams was a black man having a mental health crisis. He was demonized by the hospital staff, security, and news. He was not treated with dignity by the hospital when they refused to use nonviolent protocols for sedation and instead used lethal force. It is completely negligent for hospitals to allow security officers to put patients’ lives at risk. This hospital should be faulted for their failure to set clear and specific guidelines to the security guards they employ. It is for this reason that the health and safety of patients just like Jamal are at risk. We demand justice for Jamal.

If you would like to help hold this hospital accountable for the murder of Jamal Williams, please consider sending an email to the hospital’s patient advocate, Tammy Turean, tammy.papay-turean@comhs.org . You can also file an official civil rights complaint with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights at this link: https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/smartscreen/main.jsf