After Alfred Olango, some say it’s time to bring mental health into the policing debate

Authorities have said Olango, who was killed by police in El Cajon, California, did not respond to repeated commands from officers. It’s not known whether the officers had been trained to de-escalate in encounters with people with disabilities. In general, lack of training, coupled with overall stigma around mental illness and other disabilities, has contributed to what experts have called an epidemic of preventable police violence against people with disabilities.

Disabled individuals make up anywhere from a third to half of all people killed by law enforcement officers in the U.S., according to the Ruderman Foundation. In a report published in March, experts asserted that media outlets routinely fail to report if disability was a factor in use-of-force cases, whether or not the use of force was deemed illegal or within police policy. Brian Hullaby, an NYC writer with autism, thinks that that mental health training for police officers is not the solution. He has another idea. 

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There is a problem in this country with people caring about black people since the beginning of time.You brought us over, you stole us from our home, packed us in a ships like sardines, made us live in our feces, in our period, and we got diseases and threw us overboard like we were NOTHING.

ooooooh goodness. I really didn’t want to tear up or cry but the anger in her voice made it very very VERY hard not to do that. I wonder who she was talking to and how this discussion came about.



9/28/16 - 6:45 PM

Protests have erupted in El Cajon, CA after the police murdered Alfred Olango on Tuesday. According to early reports, Olango’s sister called 911 for help because he had been suffering seizures. Instead of administering medical assistance, the police shot and killed Alfred Olango within one minute of arriving on the scene. Other reports said Olango was seen by drivers wandering aimlessly through traffic. None have said he was violent or threatening to anyone. He needed medical attention. Witnesses said that Olango had his hands up and that their cell phones were confiscated after he was shot. 

In anticipation for the protests, excessive amounts of riot police have been deployed on the streets of El Cajon. 


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