“Muhlenberg township police killed my Daddy today . . . Help”

Latest in a series of posts in the wake of the George Floyd murder

Gadfly has been busy with other things and has taken his eye off certain types of police doin’s that relate to the GeorgeFloyd event and the re-imagining of the way we do public safety.

But the tragic deaths from the misapplication of police force don’t take holidays.

Gadfly hangs on to hope for a real Public Safety Committee meeting before the George Floyd anniversary where we discuss training and tactics in such circumstances as we see here among other things.

Who will answer Anjie Leigh’s call for help?

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Steven Henshaw, “Berks DA’s office identifies man fatally shot by police in Muhlenberg Township home.” Reading Eagle, March 17, 2021.

“Man fatally shot by police needed help, daughter says.” 69 News, March 16, 2021.

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What we know now, 2 days after the incident:

Police received a 911 call from a woman about a man threatening her with a knife.

Not all accounts report that she reported being threatened.

The police arrived to find the man locked in a bedroom. They got a key and opened the door.

The man refused to drop the knife. He was tased to no effect. He was then shot.

The man was 62, diagnosed with brain cancer about a year ago and had undergone surgery and chemotherapy.

One neighbor or the man’s daughter said that what the man needed was help.

The man’s daughter said her father’s cancer fight left him in need of psychiatric treatment and that words can’t describe how much he’ll be missed, especially by his grandchildren.

Facebook comments from the public contain the standard polarity:

  • “Cops acting as judge, jury, and executioner need to stop. This man needed help, not a bullet to the heart.”
  • “he was having a mental health emergency, and was suffering from cancer. Not surprising the cops couldn’t seem to handle a 130lb chemo patient and had to shoot him in the chest.”
  • “Well like others have said, maybe a call to his therapist or counselor would have been a better choice. Police are trained to control lethal situations and persons endangering the lives of others, non lethal measures were taken with no effect. That leaves them no options. They do not know each individuals personal history when they respond. They have to deal with what presents itself at the time. Sad someone lost their life but it means someone else’s life was saved, maybe more.”
  • “Dude was in his room by himself. They broke in and threatened him, making the situation worse. A trained mental health expert responding and this man would be alive today. The cops should have stayed the hell outside.”
  • “the police have the right to protect themselves from people carrying weapons. If YOU can do a better job. Go be a cop.”
  • “What were the police going to do in this situation? What did they have to offer here? It’s almost like the presence of these officers almost made certain his life was going to end whether he was an actual threat to himself or not. This needs to stop… there’s been many successful departments in adding a mental health specialist unit…I suggest they learn from those successes and make changes immediately.”
  • “I read this story in disbelief. At the point of police intervention, the man was locked in a room and no threat to anyone but himself. The situation called for de-escalation, contain and wait for back-up. Instead, lives were destroyed; both this family’s and that of the officer. We need to rethink and retrain policing in this country.”

This is how the man’s daughter, presumably the woman who made the call, saw it:

Anjie Leigh, Facebook, March 16:

Muhlenberg township police killed my Daddy today. He was battling brain and lung cancer the past year during covid and couldn’t see clearly for days beforehand. He was scared. They broke into his bedroom and killed him. he weighed 130 pounds, was still receiving cancer treatment and was supposed to be receiving a medical intervention due to a 302 call from a concerned family member. Help.

 

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