Written by Eric Kearsley, Willow Street. This LTE was first published on September 17, 2020 in LNP/LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Ricardo Muñoz continue to emerge, but the following seems to be clear:
- Ricardo Muñoz’s mental health problems were well known to his family and the community. Family members recognized that he was in trouble and called for help that never came. Can’t we all agree that our crisis intervention and mental health programs are inadequate?
- The lone city cop dispatched to the scene was confronted by a man charging toward him waving a large knife. Can’t we all agree that in those circumstances, a cop’s use of deadly force could be justified?
- Some individuals responded to this tragic event with arson, vandalism, and rioting. Can’t we all agree that this is not legitimate social protest, it is criminal behavior that should be prosecuted?
There are a lot of unanswered policy issues. When a serious mental health issue is flagged, particularly by the family, what can be done to intervene quickly to ensure public safety? What options for non-lethal force are available that could/should have been used in this kind of crisis.
Let’s not make this another left-right argument where our debate is mostly focused on simplistic partisan slogans. We all share the common goal of public safety.
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