As D-P-S now
investigates Michelle Cusseaux’s death at the hands of Phoenix Police, the
President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, or PLEA, emphatically
says officers have to stop being the first resort when it comes to mental
health pickup calls.

Joe Clure’s
not suggesting that police cease to protect 
mental health workers dealing with an unruly patient, but he stresses
that officers don’t have the training to always do the right thing. Clure also
blasted the national media for the way it handled coverage of the Furguson
uprising after a black teenager was shot to death by a white officer earlier
this month, adding, the chaos inflamed passions here in Phoenix with Cusseaux’s
death.

Clure says
there’s a forgotten aspect of the local officer involved shooting:  Sergeant Percy Dupra, who fired the fatal
shot, needs some care and concern for the trauma he’s suffered, but no one,
including the city of Phoenix, has given him any comfort, except for Dupra’s
immediate supervisor. He says the Sergeant is at risk for P-T-S-D, which has
destroyed the lives of so many officers before him.  As he puts it, “Officers are people, too”.

Also invited
to Monday’s press conference, the Reverend Jarrett Maupin, who praises Phoenix
Police for extending “an olive branch to the community”, but is not entirely
confident an independent review of the shooting will bring out the truth.

However, Maupin
says he recognizes that officers must defend themselves in life-threatening
situations and that officers really have no business taking charge of mental
health situations.

–Barbara
Villa

 

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