Police shoot an African-American suffering from bipolar disorder in Brooklyn

Police shoot an African-American suffering from bipolar disorder in Brooklyn

In a shocking incident, New York Police Department (NYPD) officers recently shot dead an African-American man, battling bipolar disorder, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in response to 911 calls which reportedly accused the man of carrying an object believed to be a gun.

According to the police, on April 4, 2018, 34-year-old Saheed Vassell was waving a metal pipe outside his apartment building, which people misunderstood to be a silver gun. When the officers reached the street corner, Saheed reacted by aiming the metal pipe toward them. In retaliation, four cops fired multiple shots, leaving him fatally wounded on the corner of Utica Avenue and Montgomery Street, said NYPD Chief Terence Monahan at a press conference.

Saheed was a Jamaica-born welder and father of a teenage boy. While talking to the media, his 63-year-old father Eric Vassell admitted that his son was suffering from bipolar disorder and refused to seek treatment. He also added that his son had not taken medicine for his condition for past many years. Expressing sadness over the option of shoot to kill taken by the police, he said that they were constantly worried about his well-being in the past. The tragic incident has caused quite an uproar in the neighborhood; however, with another footage showing Saheed randomly aiming a gun at people on the street, the NYPD continues to doubt whether he was carrying a real gun or not.

In the wake of the incident, some eye witnesses described Saheed as an odd person who struggled with alcoholism and mental health problems. However, they also emphasized that he was completely harmless. An acquaintance, who knew Vassell for 20 years, said, “He speaks to himself, usually he has an orange Bible or a rosary in his hand. He never had a problem with anyone.”

Understanding the prevalence of violence in bipolar disorder patients

Bipolar disorder, known as manic depression characterized by significantly manic and depressive episodes, inflicts mood swings that are not like the usual ups and downs experienced by most people. People suffering from bipolar disorder are at an increased risk for violence and aggressive behavior. The risk multiples by manifold due to the lack of medications and appropriate care.

Due to the fluctuation of mood from depression to extreme euphoria, those struggling with bipolar disorder are more prone to agitation and impulsive behavior. Additionally, the level of drug and alcohol consumed is closely associated with the risk of violence. Therefore, the law enforcement agencies like the police need to exercise caution while handling people with bipolar disorder indulging in unruly behavior.

Studies suggest that the afflicted individuals exhibit impulsive behavior and end up taking miscalculated risks and reckless decisions during the episodes of mania. People suffering from bipolar disorder may manifest symptoms, such as unexpected mood fluctuations, varying energy levels, aggressive behavior, drastic changes in activity levels, and increased helplessness in carrying out even basic day-to-day activities. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 2.6 percent of Americans struggle with bipolar disorder, with varying symptoms and severities.

Spread awareness to manage bipolar disorder

People experience a wide range of emotions on a regular basis, such as elation, self-doubt, fear, sorrow, joy and many more. However, there are some who tend to experience an unusual pattern in their mood or energy levels due to traumatic experiences, substance abuse, genetics, etc. This can take a heavy toll on both personal and professional life, even increasing the risk of death when caught in aforementioned situations.

The intense feeling of dejection and oscillating mood swings make it incredibly tough for the patients to express what they are going through openly and reach out for professional help. Nevertheless, mental health ailments like bipolar disorder must be taken seriously

Encourage your loved ones with bipolar disorder to seek proper treatment at one of the reputed bipolar rehab centers in California. Sovereign Health’s state-of-the-art treatment facilities for bipolar disorder are well-known for their evidence-based treatment programs that effective help in recovery and treat any underlying health condition. For more information on our bipolar treatment centers in California, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with our representatives to clarify your queries.

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