Saheed Vassell (Facebook)
ollowing the deadly police shooting of Saheed Vassell, the city claimed on Friday to thoroughly treat emotionally disturbed people who get taken into custody for acting out in public.
State law allows an emotionally disturbed person, or EDP, to be held for up to 72 hours, then locked up in a psychiatric ward on the advice of two examining physicians for as many as 60 days before discharge or transfer to a mental hospital.
The Health and Hospitals Corp., which runs the city’s public hospitals, said that when it discharges mental patients, they get meds and follow-up appointments.
If a high-risk patient fails to show, a mobile crisis unit hits the streets to bring him or her in, the HHC said.
The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, there has been a 23 percent increase in mandatory outpatient treatment under Kendra’s Law, with 2,479 cases last year.
The state law allows courts to order dangerous patients into monitored treatment. It is named for Kendra Webdale, who was fatally pushed in front of a Manhattan subway train by a former mental patient in 1999.
NYPD union leaders accused the city of failing to treat mentally ill people and leaving cops to deal with them.
“Why do they not send mental-health professionals to deal with those requiring assistance prior to the police having to be called?” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.
“If we are going to lay blame, then it clearly lies with the mayor, the mental-health professionals and those charged with handling people in need.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said: “Those who suffer the pains of mental illness and who need government support the most have been let down. Sadly, it is the police who are called to deal with a problem that society has ignored.”
Vassell, 34, underwent hospital treatment as an EDP at least twice in response to 911 calls, police sources say.
The first hospitalization came in 2008 after he ran through traffic in his underwear and lay in the street, pounding his head on the pavement and eating rocks.
Then, in 2011, Vassell was taken to a hospital after his mom said he had stopped taking his medication and had become irrational and violent.
It was unclear what hospital or hospitals he was taken to or if he was admitted for treatment.