Wednesday 2 December, 2020

15 mentally-ill persons shot by security forces in 9 months - INDECOM

File photo of the scene where Susan Bogle was shot dead during a security operation that reportedly involved a confrontation with gunmen in August Town, St Andrew in May of this year.

File photo of the scene where Susan Bogle was shot dead during a security operation that reportedly involved a confrontation with gunmen in August Town, St Andrew in May of this year.

Fifteen mentally ill people were shot by members of the security forces during alleged confrontations in the first nine months of this year, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is reporting.

Of those shot, six of the mentally-ill persons died, according to the independent investigative body.

Speaking about the development at a press conference on Thursday, INDECOM head Hugh Faulkner called for members of the security forces to rethink their approach in dealing with mentally-ill persons.

Faulkner... we are encouraging that these steps be reviewed in dealing with the mentally-ill.

“The total of 15 mentally ill persons who have been shot… accounts for 10 per cent of the 150 persons who have been shot and killed, or injured, in confrontations with the security forces,” explained Faulkner, adding that the six deaths of mentally-ill persons account for seven per cent of fatal shootings by the security forces up to October 2 of this year.

He noted that none of the mentally-ill victims were armed with firearms but all were reported to be in possession of a weapon or implement of some sort.

He argued that the incidents could have been resolved without gunfire and urged the security forces to review their tactical response in dealing with the mentally ill to identify ways in which the mentally ill may be subdued without the use of firearms.

“And I understand that, in some instances, the situation might be grave and challenging, but we are encouraging that these steps be reviewed in dealing with the mentally-ill,” added Faulkner.

INDECOM meanwhile said the probe into the shooting death of Susan Bogle, a mentally-ill and disabled woman killed during a police-military operation at her home in August Town earlier this year, was inconclusive, with investigators not being able to determine whether Bogle died from a bullet fired by a gunman or a member of the security forces.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: