Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

ER police conduct

I need advice… One of my greatest blessings is the day the police found my boyfriend in a mall parking lot, asleep in his pickup, after someone had called him in for driving over a median. Which he did intentionally, his voices had him convinced he was part of some reality show, we were going to be millionaires… He hadn’t slept more than maybe 6 hours in the last 2 days, he was exhausted but in a full on episode. His voices were relentless, and at that point he wasn’t the man I fell in love with 10 years ago. When the cops found him, he told them to call me, and at that time I hadn’t heard from him in 3 days, I had to pull myself and our girls out of the situation. I told the officer that I needed him evaluated . this had been going on for months and any time I reached out for help, I was told that he wasn’t a danger to anyone, himself included. Because of what happened that day, I have the love of my life back. He was put on an involuntary hold, but then he sought his own treatment, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, he sees a psychologist and a counselor, he got his medications sorted out and he has made so many improvements in so many areas of his life. Here’s the thing… He was charged with a DUI, they got a warrant to take his blood, and after 6 weeks the results came back with 6 nanograms of amphetamines. He was self medicating but had been clean of his own free will for 4 days prior to the incident. While in emergency he had 4 police in the room with him, and one took me into the hall to chat. As I was pouring my heart out to this officer, I heard my boyfriend screaming, not angrily, but terrified, so I ran to the room, asked what the hell was happening, 2 of the officers were holding him down, he’s crying, pants around his ankles, trying to cover himself with a hospital bedsheets, and scared to death. These officers would not have stopped had I not been there, all I could do was tell them to stop, he’s scared and has no idea what’s happening to him. They already had his blood at that point, what they tried to do was cruel and unnecessary, and I’m not sure it was legal, and if it was than shame on society as a whole. To completely take advantage and think, because they are mentally unstable at the time, the police can do whatever they want, is barbarik. Tomorrow is mediation with the prosecuting attorney, and I’ll be with him, I’m tempted to file a formal complaint against our cities finest, against the hospital for the way their staff just sat back and watched it happen. I’m at a loss of what our next move should be. I can’t even imagine how many other peoe this has happened to. It makes me sick. Any advice helps

I am so sorry that this cruelty was inflicted on your boyfriend when he was unstable and in emergency. You may be right that it was illegal for the police to act that way. Best would have been to take down names and write up a record of what happened (police names, hospital staff names, etc) at that time, but perhaps now is not too late. Not all police are cruel, but some are, and some use too much force for the situation, but I don’t judge too harshly as the police in general are facing situations I myself couldn’t handle. My own loved one is successfully medicated for 2 years now after her 2nd arrest and a kind judge who understands mental illness. Prior to that event, the police were at my home about 40 times, 5 forced hospitalizations, no recognition on my daughter’s part of her illness, downward spiral…

NAMI meetings taught me to keep a written record of interactions with police, hospital staff, counselors etc and they are very useful. I think you SHOULD file a written complaint, just the facts, short and to the point. At the mediation, I am assuming your boyfriend will have an attorney on his side facing the prosecuting attorney. If it is a court appointed lawyer, you may only have a few moments to talk to him before the mediation, so prepare a written paper to brief him quickly:

Just a sample write up, sort of like:

  1. Diagnosed with sza disorder since (month, year), med compliant, doing treatment with psychologist
  2. Does self medicate with alcohol/amphetamines
  3. Victim of cruel treatment (month year) that scared him in hospital by police, no help from hosp staff.
  4. Doing very well overall now compared to past unmedicated situation
  5. Thankful for police help at that time (month, year) that got him started on treatment.
  6. Hope that current crime (DUI) can be mitigated due to mental illness, past good conduct
  7. Willing to attend drug classes, especially if they are mental illness/drug classes combined.

Then you can give it to his attorney, or use your list to remember what you want to state to the prosecutor. Unfortunately, mental illness is NOT a defense to a crime, the crime still was done, however, how the prosecutor and judge see the overall situation can help get a better result in the justice system.

Good luck, I hope it goes well for you both.

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So sorry this happened this way…prayers for all…don’t know about formal complaint, however I would mention cruel and unjust procedures for those less fortunate. Out of ordinary procedures etc…

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The last time my son was Baker Acted, I complained about the force the young officer used on my son and was told by a senior officer on the scene that since I had never done their job, to let them decide the amount of force to use. He did not witness the pounding my son took which combined with prior head injuries possibly served to add to the bruising of his brain. Our Governor here in Florida requested a grand jury investigation back in 2019 and the blistering report came out this month and it appears they’re not finished: https://health.wusf.usf.edu/health-news-florida/2020-12-11/grand-jury-says-floridas-mental-health-system-is-a-mess

Maybe their findings will work their way down to the police officers… I can only hope.