Man Shot While Being Mentally Ill

I wanted to share with everyone a recent decision denying Summary Judgment and the settlement in a failure to train case for which I posted a request for jury instructions a month or so ago. The case involved the shooting of a young ( 23) mentally ill (paranoid Schizophrenic) Ohio resident, “N”.

He was shot when four Sheriff’s deputies went to pick him up on a probate court detention order to take him to a hospital after the family had called for help because he had stopped taking his medication (he was responding well to the meds). The deputies reported “N” was shot when he attempted to stab one of the deputies. The shooting occurred sixty seconds after the deputies approached “N”. The deputies admitted that until one of them ran toward “N”, maced him and tried to grab him, Nasir did not strike at them or move toward them and that all four were at a safe distance behind protective cover with guns drawn screaming at him until the deputy ran toward “N”. No one else was anywhere in the vicinity except “N” and the deputies. Our expert testified that this was a case study in how NOT to approach someone suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and that the deputies should have been trained not to rush and to call for a CIT or other special assistance if the deputies were not trained themselves.

We only sued the Sheriff. There had been no special or continuing training related to dealing with the mentally ill even for the unit handling probate detention orders. Nor did the Sheriff establish a Crisis Intervention Team. We developed evidence showing the Sherriff and his command staff had been to programs about the importance of CITs and special training for dealing with the mentally ill. Claims were made under section 1983 and the ADA. The judge addressed the 1983 claim and was about to rule on the ADA claim when the case settled. Settlement included continuing jurisdiction of the court to enforce new initial training requirements, continuing training requirements, implementation of a Crisis Intervention Team, creation of a data base recording all background and interactions related to detentions/arrests of mentally ill individuals involving the warrant squad or CIT, and payment of $500,000.

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