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City, police officials unveil Detroit mental health initiative

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Detroit – City and law enforcement officials on Monday unveiled an initiative aimed at addressing what Detroit’s top police officer calls one of the biggest law enforcement challenges: dealing with the mentally ill.

During a press conference at Public Safety Headquarters, Mayor Mike Duggan, Chief of Police James Craig and Willie Brooks, President of the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, announced the Mental Health Co-Response Partnership.

Recent incidents with people with mental illness include:

  • Michael Moza, of southwest Detroit, who was killed in a November shooting with Detroit police officers after leading them through the city on a high-speed chase. Family members said Moza asked a doctor to give him mental health prior to the incident. “This is another example of the broken mental health system,” Craig said at a news conference the day after the incident. “When will this stop?”
  • In October, police fatally shot and killed a 42-year-old man who Craig said suffered from mental illness after the man held his girlfriend hostage in a house on the east side of Detroit. The stalemate lasted for several hours before a police sniper shot the man, who later died in a hospital.
  • Darrien Walker, 28, was killed by police in July after reportedly following officers with sword and dagger. A few weeks earlier, Walker was arrested as a barricaded shooter and taken to a hospital for mental treatment – only to be released the next day, police said.

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Dusty Kennedy