A 2012 study found that about half of those killed by the police each year are mentally ill. It’s an issue that is currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case where the court is being asked to decide whether police are obligated to take special precautions in using deadly force when they know an individual is mentally ill. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that cops do have to take special precautions. But as we see repeatedly across the country, often they do not.
Darrien Hunt, Saratoga Springs, Utah
Hunt was shot six times and killed in October after someone reported a man with a suspicious sword. Hunt, who had a fascination with Japanese anime characters, was carrying a toy sword. A recent autopsy report found the shots hit him in the back, suggesting he was running away from police on the scene.
Ezell Ford, Los Angeles
In what was described as “an execution” by family members, Ford was unarmed when Los Angeles police officers shot him in August. Officers stopped him on the street, in response to a possible officer-involved shooting. One witness contends that officers beat the 25-year-old disabled man while saying “shoot him.” Others maintain that Ford was laying on the ground when he was shot.