ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – A videotape showing a man with mentally disabilities being beaten by two St. Louis police officers has launched an internal investigation.
Last month, when 47-year-old Mario Crump exposed himself to a relative and urinated on the kitchen floor, his family called police. Two officers responded, and even though the policemen had received crisis training in dealing with people who are mentally ill, Crump wound up with broken fingers and a wound to the head.
When police officers are called about a person with mental illness behaving erratically, it can become a complex encounter, one that's risky for everyone involved.
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"That's why we do train our officers," St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said. "We have over 700 officers trained in crisis intervention."
NAMI St. Louis is the organization that manages the crisis intervention training for more than 4,000 area police officers. Executive Director Dar Walker says the two officers, who received CIT training, could have handled last month's encounter with Crump differently.
"With an individual facing two large police officers, the response was overboard," Walker said. "The injuries probably didn't need to happen."
The video has resulted in an internal investigation by the police department. Many are asking if the punching or use of a metal baton was justified.
"I have to be fair to the community, and I have to be fair to the officers," Dotson said. "So a 35-second clip of a 10 or 15 minute encounter really leaves a lot of questions."
Walker hopes to answer those questions in a meeting he's set up with Walker.
"What happens, what can we learn, how can we improve the CIT program, how can we improve the community services interaction," Walker said.