Stop Police Killing of the Mentally Ill

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When a person is suffering an emotional crisis.  family and friends call 911.             They are expecting  mental health professionals to respond and help their loved one. Usually, instead of  mental health professionals, uniformed armed police officers show up. The result is, far too often, the murder of the person in need of help.   Given the racism of the police system, the person is even more likely to be killed if he is Black, Latino or Native American. This has to stop. Mental health professionals MUST be the FIRST responders. 

We, the undersigned people of New York City, urge city officials to put in place the following changes to end the tragic and unnecessary loss of life that results from encounters between law enforcement and mentally ill individuals:

1. Remove NYPD officers, as first responders, in situations involving mentally ill individuals.      

2. Require, as a matter of policy, that 911 dispatchers send trained mental health professionals as first responders in situations involving New Yorkers in psychiatric crisis. It will be the mental health  professional who decides if physical constraints are needed.

3. Divert funding from law enforcement to provide mental health care across the city, especially at  resource centers that serve the city's most vulnerable populations, so that individuals with mental illness can receive needed support & services w/o having to interact with the police or the criminal justice system.