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Are Boston Police Equipped To Deal With Mental Illness?

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Police crime tape is displayed at the scene where a 16-year-old was shot and killed and an 18-year-old was shot and wounded on April 25 in Chicago.
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A fatal shooting in Boston’s South End neighborhood Sunday morning opened up a national conversation about race, mental health, and police violence in America.

According to Police Commissioner Bill Evans, Coleman was waving a large kitchen knife, which he used to try to attack the officers. Evans later said the two officers had “no choice” but to shoot Coleman. Coleman’s mother, Hope, told the Globe that he was not brandishing a weapon and had not attempted to attack officers. Neither officer was equipped with a body camera.

Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III joined Jim and Margery for their weekly segment, All Revved Up. “The issue is, we are not equipped as a society to deal with mental health issues and challenges,” Price said. “no mother should ever call the police for help and her son ends up dead. Regardless of what happened, something really went awry here. The fact that there were five grandchildren that were in the house at the same time that this happened? Something really went awry here.”

Hope Coleman called 911 for assistance, along with the South End Community Health Center, and requested an escort to take her son to the hospital. “She did everything the right way!” Price said. “...How do you get the help you need when you don’t trust the police department?”

“It always looks like it’s the person’s word against the cops, but when it happens repeatedly, you begin to wonder,” Monroe said.

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