CRIPJUSTICE.ORG

Lack of mental health resources initiative before police kills woman

Three San Antonio police officers have been charged with murder in the shooting death of a 46-year-old mother of four last month. Melissa Perez, who had schizophrenia, was suffering from a mental health crisis. Despite officers being trained on dealing with people in crisis, she was killed. Paul Flahive with Texas Public Radio reports.

On June 23rd, police were sent out Ms. Perez place of residence. According to an affidavit, the men found a woman trying to cut the wires on fire alarms because she believed the FBI was listening to her through them. When the police tried to get her to come with them, she fled to her apartment. There is body camera footage that shows an officer pursuit to try to enter her locked apartment through a window. Then Perez throws and hits an officer with a glass candlestick.

It was at this point that Police Chief William McManus says the team should have backed off and called for mental health support. But he says the mental health unit made up of 16 officers who deal specifically with mental health calls was not requested. And, he says, the officers on the scene never deescalated.

Instead, within a few minutes, the interaction escalated further and officers shot Perez, who was brandishing a hammer. More on this story here.

More
news

Abolish Prisons

Mental Health Courts

Mental health courts (MHCs) are specialized programs designed to address the legal issues and treatment needs of individuals with mental health disabilities and substance use

Read More »