The law is fairly clear that mentally ill individuals need to be handled and dealt with in a different way than individuals who are not mentally ill. When police are confronted by an unarmed, emotionally distraught individual who has committed no serious crime, as opposed to an armed and dangerous criminal, the governmental interest in using force is diminished, not strengthened, even when the suspect is irrational and inviting the use of force. Deorle v. Rutherford, 272 F.3d 1272, 1284-85 (9th Cir 2001) also Marshall v City of Portland 2004 U.S. Dist Lexis 8764.
Even when an emotionally disturbed individual is "acting out" and inviting officers to use deadly force to subdue him, the governmental interest in using such force is diminished by the fact that the officers are confronted, not with a person who has committed a serious crime against others, but with a mentally ill individual. Where it is or should be apparent to the officers that the individual involved is emotionally disturbed, that is a factor that must be considered in determining the reasonableness of the force used.
The beating of a person to the point of death is the use of deadly force. Deadly force can only be used when there is a fear of imminent death or grievous (serious) bodily harm. These officers set out to f**k up Mr .Thomas and in doing so they inflicted terrible injury on him. When these officers finish their criminal trial they will then have to face a civil rights trial for the use of excess force. If they are found to have used excess force, the police department could have to pay a very large sum of money.
The only way to change police behavior is to make the violation of your civil rights cost them something. If you believe that you have been the victim of excess force, false arrest, illegal search or seizure call Kallis & Associates P.C. us so we can help you.
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