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WATCH: Instead of Killing Man in Need of Mental Health Help, Police Save His Life

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Instead of force and brutality, officers used de-escalation and empathy, and a life was saved.

In an incredible departure from the all-too-common stories of police killing those experiencing a mental health crisis, two heroic Lawrence, Kansas officers saved a man’s life, demonstrating the power of empathy and de-escalation in the line of duty. The Lawrence Kansas Police Department shared dramatic bodycam footage on their Facebook page to raise awareness about mental health issues, showcasing officers handling the situation with the utmost care and professionalism.

Just yesterday, we reported on the tragic case of Shayne Sutherland who was in a similar predicament. Instead of empathy and de-escalation, however, he received police brutality… and it cost him his life. The video below shows what is possible when the opposite tactics are employed.

The video, which has been viewed nearly 15,000 times, captures the heart-wrenching moment as an officer approaches a man with one foot over the railing of a bridge near downtown Lawrence. Despite the man’s initial resistance, the officer patiently engages in conversation, making the individual’s safety his top priority. The man’s face is blurred and sensitive audio removed to protect his identity.

When the officer arrives on the scene, the man yells at him to stay away, exclaiming through tears that he wants to die. The officer responds calmly, saying, “OK, OK, I’m going to stay right here.” As the man continues to cry, the officer compassionately asks if there’s any way he could get the man to put his foot on the other side of the railing.

While the first officer keeps the man’s attention, a second officer approaches from behind and carefully grabs him off the railing. The officers then cuff the man and sit him on the ground, with one officer patting his chest and rubbing his shoulder the entire time to soothe him. The police emphasize that the man was not arrested but rather restrained for his own safety and the officers’. He was safely transported to the hospital for help.

Though some criticized the department for making the video public and questioned the use of handcuffs, the majority of comments praised the officers’ empathy and kindness in navigating the situation. Lawrence Police Chief Rich Lockhart explained the decision to share the footage, stating that it was important for the community to see the work officers do every day and promote discussions about the need for greater mental health services.

The video serves as a powerful reminder of the good that can come when police prioritize empathy and de-escalation in situations involving individuals in crisis. These brave officers made a life-saving choice by approaching the situation with care and compassion, proving that law enforcement can be part of the solution in addressing the nation’s mental health crisis.

Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist

Matt Agorist

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project.
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