On August 25, 2003 in Mesa Arizona, Mario Madrigal Jr., 15, was threatening to kill himself with a knife. His parents called the police in a panic, looking for help. They ended up watching the police shoot and kill Mario. He was not a threat to anyone but himself. However, a police squad lacking training and understanding to deal with both mental illness and the hispanic population of Mesa is turning to murder to deal with situations they fail to understand.
An internal investigation cleared the police in the shooting of any wrong doing. The family is conducting a private investigation and plan to take the officers to court.
Mental health is a huge area of concern where the police almost across the board fail to do the best thing for the patient. The ignorance of the police compounds the problems that the individual person with a mental illness already has, and can often lead to that person being in a worse situation than before the police arrived. Our communities need competent people to help folks with mental illnesses when they are in crisis. We do not need to handcuff, arrest, jail, or shoot these people. Traumatic situations should be avoided.