In a tragically familiar turn of events, a woman in Florida called the cops for help in dealing with a mentally disturbed man who was threatening to kill himself with a knife. When the cops showed up, they shot him dead.
“I think [police] should come in using other things,” Kaitlyn Lyons told reporters following the death of her boyfriend Justin Way. “And I think they definitely need to figure out how to handle suicidal people.”
“The only person Justin threatened was himself and I honestly don’t think he wanted to die,” she said.
Lyons also noted that the cops who attended the call were carrying assault rifles, and looked like they “were going into war” when they entered the home.
The family claim that a detective with St. Johns County sheriff’s department has since made inflammatory remarks to them about the case, saying that it represents a “new trend in law enforcement now — suicide by cop.”
Detective Mike Smith also argued that Mr Way threatened Lyons, an accusation she denies, and that the deputies killed Way because he refused to drop the knife, and the cops felt threatened. “That’s what we do” the family says Smith told them.
The family also says that Smith wouldn’t reveal where or how many times their son was shot.
The family believes that Mr Way was shot while laying in bed. They say that there were no blood stains on the walls or floor nearby, and that bullets were removed from the mattress after the incident.
“If Justin was coming after them with a knife, at 6-foot-4, wouldn’t there be blood splattered all over the room?” George Way, the victim’s father said.
A police Commander, Chuck Mulligan, told reporters that it is standard procedure to send deputies armed with assault rifles to incidents involving mentally disturbed people, so long as “the deputies feel that that is the appropriate weapon system to use.” Mulligan said that only using Tasers could pose a risk to the officers.
“Whether it’s a rifle or not, in many senses, is a non-issue,” Mulligan said. “A bullet comes out of a handgun, a bullet comes out of a rifle.”
Unfortunately this is not an isolated case.
There are regular accounts of police resorting to deadly force when encountering mentally disturbed or challenging individuals. Experts have expressed concern that cops are simply not trained to deal with such situations.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.