Kayla (aka Xavier) Moore of Berkeley, California was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital in February, 2013, after an encounter with the Berkeley police in her apartment. She was unarmed.
David Silva of Bakersfield, California was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital on May 8th, 2013, after an encounter with six Kern County Sheriff's Deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers. He was unarmed.
An unidentified man in Sacramento, California was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital on May 25th, 2013, after an encounter with multiple Sacramento police officers, one of which was shown on a citizen video beating the man with multiple baton strokes. He was unarmed.
In Moore's case
Hayes ((her apartment-mate)) ... called 911 and spoke to BPD's communications center. Hayes said in the call that his roommate was "acting a fool" and needed to be "brought into the psych ward."... He said there were no weapons in the house...In other words Moore was reported as being unstable, was talking jibberish to the officers as reported by a witness, and seemed to be delusional as reported by an officer. And yet
Sterling ((self-described as Moore's caretaker)), who was still in the apartment, said he heard the police talking to Moore. "At one point, Xavier was telling the officers jibberish about the government and not feeling safe," ...
Officer Brown's account: "Moore was unable to answer my questions. He appeared to have difficulty focusing. Moore became increasingly angry and kept rambling something like the FBI was following him and that we were not real police officers.
The officers kept telling Xavier to 'stop resisting' but he wouldn't. He kept resisting and speaking jibberish.In Silva's case a deputy called to the scene found Silva asleep or passed out on a lawn. After waking Silva up with a "knuckle rub" Silva, possibly disoriented and/or drugged, became belligerent. The officer's response? Unleash his dog. The dog then bit Silva, leading to further escalation of the situation, calls for backup, and the eventual beating and death of Silva.
In the Sacramento case, the 911 call indicated that the man was not of sound mind:
The trouble started around 6 p.m. Friday when the clerk at a Metro PCS store called 911 and said the man had walked into the store and was making unintelligible sounds, police said Saturday.Reports are not clear exactly what happened, but it seems like the police escalated the situation instead of trying to de-escalate it.
The officers were able to eventually force the door open, but once inside, police say the suspect became combative. The struggle became so violent that it moved from inside of the store and out onto the sidewalk and parking lot in front of the store.Each of these cases and many others (e.g., Houston Police Kill Mentally Ill Double Amputee Who Was Waving a Pen Around) have a similar theme. Police are called and expect the person being investigated to behave rationally - even when told beforehand that the person is not rational, is mentally ill, or is distraught. They insist on "compliance" with their orders. Yet in many cases there is substantial evidence to suggest that the person was not rational, and that the officers knew this before they arrived or could easily asertain such. Yet, when the person does not comply, the police escalate the situation instead of either attempting to de-escalate it or backing away until people trained in dealing with mental illness or deep emotional distress can be brought in to deal.
Note that in the first two cases and possibly in the third there was no threat to anyone were the officers involved to have retreated.
Police act as if "Stand Your Ground" is the 1st Commandment of officer interaction with everyone, regardless of the threat. Police think they are the solution, but often they are most of the problem when it comes to dealing with an irrational individual or a crowd. I have zero confidence that police at any level will ever understand this concept, but if they could it would go a long way to ending the senseless deaths of the mentally ill and troubled I often read about and preventing police riots during marches and acts of civil disobedience before they can start.
The worst that should have happened to Kayla Moore is that she was left in her apartment alone until professional help arrived or she had come down off of whatever drugs were driving her. The worst that should have happened to David Silva was a watchful eye kept on him until he could be talked to, talked down, and/or ultimately taken back to the hospital / mental health facility he was seeking aid from. I don't know what should have happened in the Sacramento case, but I'm pretty sure that beating a man who is talking jibberish using ten blows with a baton is not a ratonal response to the situation.