Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Strategies and alternatives for coping with fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder and other chronic illnesses

Yet Another Mentally Ill Person Killed by Police

Posted by wendyburnett on April 12, 2010

Another bipolar man has died due to the lack of training in dealing with the mentally ill, and the family has filed suit against the police department as a result, according to JusticeNewsFlash.com.

These kinds of deaths are so totally unnecessary, and it pisses me off to know that any one of us could be killed by police, just because they are totally clueless about how to deal with mentally ill people who are in crisis. This seems to be a bit more than just ignorance though, since Mr. Cardall’s family claims that after tasing him twice on his bare chest, police officers left him laying face down in the dirt, totally ignoring his wife’s requests that they check and make sure he didn’t need medical attention.

When someone did finally notice that Mr. Cardall’s lips were blue, police refused to allow his pregnant wife to accompany him to the hospital, instead transporting her to the jail and placing her in custody without probable cause. Her questions about her husband’s condition were ignored while officers interrogated her, and she was not even allowed to get a clean diaper for the baby she had with her.

Police claim that they spent an entire 42 seconds ordering Mr. Cardall to get down on the ground before tasing the unarmed, naked man. They also claim that Mr. Cardall was “charging” the officer who tased him, however, this claim is disputed by a witness to the event, who says that Mr. Cardall took one step toward the officer and was immediately fired on.

This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable in any police force. Mentally ill people are NOT criminals, nor are their family members, and simple human decency would dictate that a wife be allowed to accompany her husband to the hospital even if the police felt it necessary to place her in restraints and take her into custody to do so.

Additional stories:
Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Accounts Vary on Tasering Death of Brian Cardall

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6 Responses to “Yet Another Mentally Ill Person Killed by Police”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by My Bipolar Net. My Bipolar Net said: Yet Another Mentally Ill Person Killed by Police http://bit.ly/98lhRI […]

  2. Clady said

    First off let me say, I’m sorry for the very tragic death of this young man.

    I came across a news article about this story as I looked for more information. http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/local/flagstaff/taser_death_112009

    It was reported that this officer, “did not intend, nor believe or foresee would seriously injure or cause the death of Brian Cardall,” according to the article. It was the unanimous recommendation of a panel of prosecutors not to file charges against the officer.

    I have contact with the police on a regular basis and I can tell you, causing the death of any person is the last thing they would ever want to do. It hurts them greatly to have to defend themselves to the point of deadly force. They, too, are traumatized by these occurrences. It’s a tragedy all around.

    We will not be killed by the police simply for having a medical condition. It is the circumstances and behavior of the individual that dictates what level of force that is necessary for the police to use. The safety of the innocent bystanders are of primary concern, yet the safety of the person they are responding to, is of great importance as well. The police have a tremendous burden of maintaining the safety of all individuals. Many of the facts and circumstances are not always known, as in this case. We do not know what all occurred.

    Many people claim to have mental illnesses, such as bipolar, and use this as an excuse to get away with crime. This misrepresentation of bipolar should concern us as well. The media sensationalizes their acts of crime and blows them out of proportion, just as, with the isolated incidences of the use of the taser to defend innocent people, where death is later reported. Both are wrong, as it gives the impression that it occurs more than it does and most often the truth of the matter goes unreported.

    We cannot have people fearing bipolar people nor the police. We need to speak up and look for the truth behind the headlines. Having these false impressions has a direct affect on those we should care about, bipolar people and our police officers. People will act out negatively if they believe they have reason to fear bipolar people and the police. Neither groups of people deserve this.

    • Clady –

      I’m sorry if I gave the impression that I believed the officer killed Mr. Cardall on purpose. I have police officers in my family, and I’m fully aware that they have no desire to kill someone. My complaint is more the lack of training in dealing with the mentally ill, and the treatment of Mr. Cardall’s wife. She ASKED the responding officers to check on her husband, but the fact that he wasn’t breathing wasn’t discovered until a second set of officers arrived. Then, although there is no claim that she had done ANYTHING illegal, or that she was even SUSPECTED of illegal activity, she was not allowed to accompany her possibly dead or dying husband to the hospital. Instead, she and her small child were transported to the police station; and she was interrogated while the police ignored her questions about her husband’s condition.

      “People will act out negatively if they believe they have reason to fear bipolar people ”

      This line is EXACTLY right. I believe that because the officer did not have adequate training, he reacted from fear of the unknown and a belief, even if subconscious, that ALL mentally ill people are dangerous when in an episode. You’re right that the way the media portrays the mentally ill is to blame, as well as the use of mental illness as an excuse to get away with crime. Because the thousands of us who have never been violent, who live our ordinary lives just like everyone else are never shown in the media, “normal” people are afraid of us. Because of what they see in the papers and on TV, they assume that ALL mentally ill people will eventually “snap” and become dangerous.

      I worked in the same office, with the same people, for almost 10 years. I was fairly open about my bipolar disorder (I didn’t have much choice, actually, since I had a major manic episode, and a couple of suicidal depressions while I worked there, so it was fairly obvious;) but once some of the coworkers who had not worked as closely with me found out, they suddenly became afraid of me. Suddenly, they wouldn’t talk to me about anything that might make me angry, even though they had seen me angry in the past; they refused to be anywhere with me alone; and made sure that I was never between them and the door.

      Your comment is excellent, and I have to thank you for presenting a more balanced view and giving me the opportunity to restate my thoughts now that I’m no longer so angry and afraid.

      • Clady said

        Are you aware that many people “claim” to have bipolar disorder that may in fact not have it? And that the police deal with them everyday? That’s what I was referring to when I mentioned misrepresenting bipolar people. The police constantly train, night and day to deal with people, it’s their lives on the line.

        The point I want to emphasize is that the idea that ‘the police don’t know what they’re doing’ is already implanted in peoples minds now and they will react negatively to this misinformation. Bipolar people, whether real or just criminals, will say to themselves, “the police will hurt me if I’m bipolar,” which leads some people to believe they need to react first before the police harm them. This is going to lead to officers getting hurt or worse. We cannot have more officers getting killed. We need to be careful what we read and are lead to believe about the police. There’s a lot of mistaken impressions of the police and very few defenders of them.

        This leads me to my next point….We read a lot about the police in the media and most of that is negative. The media loves negative police publicity. It’s their bread and butter. They rarely tell the truth about the police. The media also never corrects their lies about the police so we are left with a false impression. We are often only given one side of the story, and it’ll be what the media wants us to believe. As in this story, we are not told all the facts. We weren’t there and don’t know what all took place. How much traffic was there on this highway? Were there any near-miss accidents the police were concerned about? Was the woman in danger as well? I bet there were a few things we don’t know about this story.

        How about giving the police the benefit of the doubt and not jump to conclusions? After all, a panel of prosecutors determined the police acted well within their training, training that gives them proper guidance to keep themselves and others safe.

  3. […] 13, 2010 I came across this post on a blog dealing with illnesses. It’s about a bipolar man who walked out into traffic and […]

  4. Tiffany said

    The general public barely understands mental illness, that that is the fault our third world ran mental health community. Thinks to the media and america’s scare campaign the linking of mental illness to crime has been common even though it is false. So police always assume a mentally ill person is dangerous because that is the stereotype. I hope the family wins a lot of money so that this will bring attention to other police departments.

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