Forbid Police From Responding to Mental Health Crises

Target: Erin Mendenhall, Mayor of Salt Lake City

Goal: Divert funding to mental health services to protect vulnerable people from often brutal treatment.

When 13-year old Linden Cameron’s mother Golda Barton called Salt Lake City emergency services to request assistance during a mental episode, the last thing she was expecting was a police response. When two police officers arrived at her home, they were soon reportedly shouting at the scared young man to “get down on the ground,” frightening Cameron so badly that he ran away. As the officers chased after him, one apparently fired his weapon several times, injuring the boy’s shoulder, ankles, intestines, and bladder. The injuries were severe enough to require hospitalization in an intensive care unit.

Although Mayor Erin Mendenhall has promised a swift investigation, it’s plain to see that nothing could have justified the brutal shooting of an unarmed child experiencing a period of mental trauma and distress. Unfortunately, the injuring and murdering of mentally ill or disabled people is frighteningly common in the United States as cities have steadily stripped funding from essential services. Sign the petition below to demand that Mayor Mendenhall prevent Salt Lake City police officers from responding to similar incidents and redirect funds to mental health professionals and medics instead.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Mendenhall,

The horrific shooting of 13-year old Linden Cameron is all too common in a country where people with mental and developmental differences are 16 times more likely to be killed by police. Instead of receiving the help and understanding he needed, Cameron was faced with two adult police officers who apparently screamed at him and frightened him before shooting the unarmed child numerous times.

You have an opportunity to set an example by setting strict guidelines for police in your city, barring them from responding to similar incidents for which they’re clearly unqualified. Instead, you can set aside funding from the police budget to ensure that those who need help receive it from compassionate and qualified specialists, protecting their lives and helping them with appropriate care. I demand that you do so immediately before another child is harmed.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brett Neilson




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