Target: Mr. Art May, Law Enforcement Director for St. John’s County, Florida
Goal: Terminate officers accused of killing a mentally ill man who was threatening to harm himself.
A man who was threatening only to harm himself was allegedly shot dead by the two sheriff’s deputies who were dispatched to help him. The deputies arrived on the scene wielding assault rifles, entered the room he was in, and within moments the man was dead. This awful tragedy could have been avoided if only the police response had been different. Something must be done to change the violent culture of the police in the United States and to give this man, and his family, some justice.
It is no secret that the police sometimes respond to situations heavy-handedly. Why on earth would the deputies have brought assault rifles to the home of a suicidal man instead of bringing a mental health specialist? Someone that could have helped this man out of the dark place he was in? The deputies claim that the man attacked them with a knife he was holding, yet family and the woman who called the police in the first place, his girlfriend, said that they did not feel threatened and that he was only going to harm himself. The sheriff’s department has said that they will not release how many times the man was shot or where, but family members say it appears that the man never even got out of the bed.
This tragedy happened because of a sick culture in policing that believes might makes right. The official sheriff’s department website has officers posed in front of an explosion like they’re in some kind of action movie. This is not a movie, this is not a game. Sign here to demand a change in police culture and to demand the two deputies who reportedly shot this poor man are terminated before they can kill again.
Dear Director May,
Two sheriff’s deputies from your county reportedly shot a suicidal, mentally ill man to death in his bed. This tragedy could have been easily avoided if your deputies had responded to the situation differently and his blood is on their hands. If they had brought a mental health specialist, someone to help this man out of the dark place he was in, instead of assault rifles, he would still be alive today.
What on earth possesses someone, police or otherwise, to bring military assault weapons into the home of someone suffering a mental breakdown? Did they think that they were going to have to fight off insurgents? Did they think they were in some kind of action movie? That honestly wouldn’t surprise me based on your website, but this is not a movie, this is not a game. They claim that they were attacked by the man, who did have a knife, but family members and the woman who called in the first place say they did not feel threatened and he only intended to hurt himself.
This tragedy took place because of a sick, violence-loving culture among some police that must be stamped out. I am writing to demand that the two deputies allegedly involved in this shooting are terminated and that you take steps immediately to change the culture in your county.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: St. John’s County Sheriff’s Deptarment