NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some city leaders and mental health advocates held a rally Wednesday, calling on changes to the NYPD’s policy when responding to calls for emotionally disturbed people.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, the NYPD responds to about 100,000 calls per year involving emotionally disturbed people.
Dustin Grose was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 15.
Speaking at a City Hall press conference on Wednesday, he said his family called the police on him but he didn’t want to go to the hospital.
“One of the police officers handcuffed me behind my back. Then they started punching me in my face,” Grose said. “My nose was broken and I had blood stains in my eyes.”
Activists have pushed for the NYPD to amend its policy and bring along specialized teams for calls involving emotionally disturbed people.
“De-escalate a situation instead of escalating it,” said Steve Coe with the advocacy group Community Access.
“In a city like New York, we should be at the forefront,” said City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.
She added hundreds of cities already have special procedures in place for these types of emergency calls.
Mendez is behind a resolution to change NYPD policy, though it would take state legislation to enforce any changes.
“If they don’t do this, we’ll continue to have the horrific stories of people being treated like criminals, at worse being killed,” said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. “This, to me, is one of the more common sense things that we’ve proposed.”
Earlier this week, the family of a man who was fatally shot by police filed a lawsuit against the city calling for changes in the way the NYPD handles emotionally disturbed people.
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