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16 y.o.'s mom took him to the ER for mental health help. He got assaulted by police instead

A surveillance video reveals a disturbing scene in front of a hospital ER in North Carolina when a teen with apparent mental health issues was assaulted by the people who were called to help.


Jessica Long took her 16-year-old to the ER when she became worried about his mental health state. He was angry when they arrived and didn't want to be there, so Long asked the hospital security to help get him into the building so he could be seen.

Getting an angry teen who is in the midst of a mental health crisis to do something they don't want to do is definitely a challenge. However, what transpired after the security guard was unsuccessful in getting him to go in is completely unacceptable.

In the surveillance video, you can see the teen is agitated as they try to convince him to go into the hospital. He pushes his mother and resists attempts by the security guard to restrain him. The guard shoves the teen at one point, which seems more like an emotional reaction than a reasonable attempt to restrain him, but that's only the beginning.

After the teen appears to calm down, he is walked back to the car by another security officer. The teen tries to grab his mother's arm at one point, but other than that, appears unthreatening. We can't hear what he says, but we can see a security officer come up to him from behind and throw him on the ground so hard his mouth bleeds. For the next five minutes, the two security officers pin him to the ground, attempting to restrain him.

"I was in shock! I didn't know what to do," Long told WBTV. "I was just kind of helpless to do much of anything."

Again, this is a teen having a mental health episode, whose mother brought him to the hospital for help.

There is often gray area in videos of police interactions with the public. We can't always assess what kind of threat an officer perceives in the moment, but there are times when there's no reasonable explanation for an officer's actions. What happened next, after the police arrived, is one of those times.

After the boy was restrained and had his hands cuffed behind him, the security officers sat him up on the curb. As a sheriff's deputy leaned toward him, the teen spat bloody saliva at him.

Now obviously, spitting at a police officer is not okay. But let's remember, this is a teen who had been taken to the hospital because he was having a mental health crisis. And he had blood in his mouth because he had had his face shoved into the pavement by security.

The deputy responded to the spitting by immediately punching the teen—who had his hands tied behind him—in the face, twice. Other officers intervened quickly and pulled the overreacting deputy away to calm him down.

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There's no way to spin what we see in the video as anything other than an officer losing control on a mentally ill teenager. But that didn't stop Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam from saying that the incident wasn't a problem.

"Deputy Polson had a reaction to a felonious assault," Beam said. "Spitting in a law enforcement officer's face—spitting blood in a law enforcement officer's —is a felonious assault and he had a right to stop that assault from occurring."

A WBTV reporter said,"Your deputy punched a 16-year-old with his hands handcuffed behind his back, twice. Is that an appropriate use of force?"

"All I saw was once and he was pushing him back away," Beam responded.

Umm, did he see the same video we did? (The news report above shows the assault, but the entire surveillance video can be viewed in its entirety in this WBTV article.)

An executive at the hospital, Maureen Swick, defended how the hospital security guards handled the situation.

"The actions that the officers took to keep others safe and to keep him safe were appropriate," Swick said.

The teen was arrested that night and charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer and multiple misdemeanors. He was taken to the hospital by a mother who wanted to get him help, and he ended up juvenile detention for eight days.

"The people that I thought were going to help, they did nothing but make it worse," Long said.

There's obviously something wrong when a teen is taken to the hospital for mental health reasons and ends up being assaulted by a cop. We need to insist that people charged with protecting citizens are either screened or trained well enough to not lose their cool and assault a mentally ill minor for spitting. We need to invest more resources into mental health so that we can hopefully avoid situations like this to begin with, or know better how to handle a behavioral issue stemming from mental illness. And we definitely need to make sure that people are held accountable when they violate codes of conduct and use excessive force, especially when someone is clearly in need of help.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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