This isn't a cop bashing thread (sorry), but rather, to educate people regarding mental illness, the rights of a mentally ill person, and the
misconceptions people have about what mental health agencies can, and cannot, do.
Let's start with the story (and if it has been posted before, despite my search, Mods, do your stuff).
MIDLAND, TX (KCBD) -
A routine welfare check by the Midland County Mental Health Unit ended in a fatal shooting on Monday.
KOSA in Midland is reporting that 49-year-old Rosendo Gino Rodriquez was shot by police when he attempted to attack officers with a machete.
Midland police say workers with the mental health unit were executing a regular welfare check when Rodriquez became aggressive and barricaded himself
inside his home.
Midland police initially tried to use non-lethal force to subdue the man, but he was swinging the machete in a tight space. He hit an officer with the
weapon and the officers responded with deadly force.
The family says Rodriquez had a history of mental problems and had been confined to a mental institution back in October.
The officers involved in the shooting are now on administrative leave pending an investigation.
As I saw it on the news this morning, the family was angry at mental health.
Family of man contacted CBS 7 saying he had mental health problems.
“We’ve tried to get my dad mental help for a long time,” the man’s daughter said. “We tried to get him admitted. The only way that could
ever happen was for him to be a danger to himself or others.”
Family members say their father had not been on medication. Monday’s welfare check was intended to talk the man into taking his medication.
The family tells CBS 7 the man was admitted forcefully to a mental health facility in October, but the only way he could stay was if family pressed
charges against the man.
They feel faults in the system is what ultimately led up to the tragic end of Monday’s stand-off.
Texas Rangers are now investigating the case.
Per protocol to Midland Police, two officers involved in the shooting are now on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Because I am a mental health worker, as well as a crisis worker who sometimes has to deal with some pretty scary stuff, this situation had a very
negative outcome. HOWEVER.....The family is blaming 'the system', after admitting on television that he had not been taking his psych meds for
months. They blame mental health for not magically making him take his meds, or by keeping him in a hospital permanently.
First of all, a routine check in which a client becomes hostile will necessitate an immediate call for law enforcement, as we have no way to protect
ourselves, and if we feel the situation is dangerous, we won't go in...period.
Secondly, the law states that even a mentally ill person doesn't have to take meds if they don't want to. Trying to talk a client into taking their
meds is often unsuccessful. The family is typically more likely to have success because they see the person every day and the client has more trust
in family members, as a rule.
Thirdly, ANYBODY wielding a machete once the cops show up most likely will end up dead or severely injured. I would like to see cops use a tranq gun
and tranquilize the client, but then one person will have a bad reaction and the family will sue, so.....
This happens quite a bit. Mental health can only assist a client if they want the help, and nobody stays in a mental hospital permanently anymore.
This is what drugs are for. The family stating that he would only be kept in the hospital if the family pressed charges...well, that's a no-brainer,
isn't it? Obviously he has homicidal tendencies, and if they thought he should be kept hospitalized, maybe they should have pressed charges.
We have no magic words to stop psychosis. We cannot stop somebody in a homicidal rage, and most know that what they are doing is wrong, but they're
so out there they just go with it. We also cannot force any medication on anybody. We are there to help, and to assess if the person needs to go to
a hospital to straighten them back out (usually with meds), then they are released.
Mental health is severely underfunded, and nobody wants to deal with mentally ill people. We don't have enough hospital beds for those who do not
have insurance or Medicaid. If the client is non-compliant, they will become 'frequent fliers", often going back into the hospital many times,
getting straightened out, and then they stop taking them and the cycle continues.
I feel bad this guy was shot by the cops, but they will treat any homicidal individual, mentally ill or not, the same. As for me, I always make sure
the situation is secure and I use the police a lot, because you don't know what you're walking into. I'm not sure how the cops could have handled
this any better. Had they exited out and let the guy hack himself to death, then the family would blame them for that. Confusing situation all the
Families, if you have severely mentally ill people in your family who are not med compliant, please don't blame us. Ask yourself how you can help
this family member take their meds, especially if they become psychotic or dangerous when not on them. When people who were diagnosed as mentally ill
won the right, by law, to be treated exactly as everybody else, they also won the responsibility as everybody else, to either take their meds, or deal
with their illness.