A frame grab from videotape showing the bearing of Kelly Thomas by Fullerton… (KTLA-TV )
Re "Beating video may be a mental health watershed," May 9
The fatal beating of Kelly Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police officers is another glaring example of failed police administration as it relates to the training of officers to properly handle resistive, combative or aggressive mentally disabled people.
All medical staff and personnel employed in treatment centers for mental patients receive certified professional training on how to physically handle these types of incidents. A simple Internet search yields numerous professional training companies that can provide this vital service to law enforcement agencies.
It is the responsibility of police departments to ensure that their officers get the proper training. Thomas need not have died in vain.
Jon D. Elder
All of the mental health funding and police training in the world will not work when rogue cops with tough-guy complexes, like those who beat a harmless homeless man, are on the police force. One can only imagine what these bullies with badges did before a camera caught them.
There's a reason such malevolent misfits bully homeless people: They know their prey lack the wealth and connections that could cost them their jobs or their freedom. In this case, thank God for video.
Does a police officer who shouts instructions to a deaf person beat up that person because he can't obey the orders? A mentally ill person is not able to understand instructions. Are police trained to understand that simple fact?
The behavior of the Fullerton officers is a reflection of an authoritarian attitude that reduces the police to unthinking, violent robots. This is a dangerous trend that needs to be reversed.
We need more community policing and more involvement of social workers in law enforcement. We should treat mentally ill people, not put them in prison.
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