By Phil  |  10-17-2017   News
Photo credit: Burlington Police Department with regrets

Mentally Ill Lives Don't Matter in Burlington

Burlington, Vermont has something of a disturbing history of police assaults on the mentally ill. Burlington, Vermont is already facing what Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille is calling a "mental health crisis" statewide. Recent cases where <a href="http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2017/09/25/some-vermonters-need-mental-health-treatment-await-care-jail-vermont-mental-health-crisis-sends-some/690458001/">a severely disturbed woman was regularly faced with pepper spray</a> when approached during her eight days in a solitary cell. The Human Rights Commission is tasking the Agency of Human Services with discrimination. Her situation was said to have "severely deteriorated" in the just over a week in the hands of the Burlington PD. This woman, believe it or not, may have gotten off easy.

Last year, Burlington police were called when a 76-year-old man was confronted with a standoff with riot police. Phil

Grenon was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. What started out as a "welfare check" turned into a disturbing slaughter of a marginalized, elderly man. Grenon was already being involuntarily medicated by the state and had made threats to neighbors. “He has schizophrenia … which causes him significant impairment in reality perception, thought process, mood and judgment. He says he is not ill and that any talk to the contrary shows a conspiracy,” Grenon's psychiatrist Richard Munson said.

Ralph "Phil" Grenon was a veteran with the U.S. Air Force, graduated from the University of Vermont, and in 1970 received his Master’s degree in teaching history from Saint Michael's College. Despite training, they wrongly assumed a paranoid man who had been warning people away from his apartment would respond well to a crowd of police in riot gear.

Mentally Ill Lives Don't Matter in Burlington

Burlington, Vermont has something of a disturbing history of police assaults on the mentally ill. Burlington, Vermont is already facing what Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille is calling a "mental health crisis" statewide. Recent cases where <a href="http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2017/09/25/some-vermonters-need-mental-health-treatment-await-care-jail-vermont-mental-health-crisis-sends-some/690458001/">a severely disturbed woman was regularly faced with pepper spray</a> when approached during her eight days in a solitary cell. The Human Rights Commission is tasking the Agency of Human Services with discrimination. Her situation was said to have "severely deteriorated" in the just over a week in the hands of the Burlington PD. This woman, believe it or not, may have gotten off easy.

Last year, Burlington police were called when a 76-year-old man was confronted with a standoff with riot police. Phil

Grenon was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. What started out as a "welfare check" turned into a disturbing slaughter of a marginalized, elderly man. Grenon was already being involuntarily medicated by the state and had made threats to neighbors. “He has schizophrenia … which causes him significant impairment in reality perception, thought process, mood and judgment. He says he is not ill and that any talk to the contrary shows a conspiracy,” Grenon's psychiatrist Richard Munson said.

Ralph "Phil" Grenon was a veteran with the U.S. Air Force, graduated from the University of Vermont, and in 1970 received his Master’s degree in teaching history from Saint Michael's College. Despite training, they wrongly assumed a paranoid man who had been warning people away from his apartment would respond well to a crowd of police in riot gear.

<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c_omg3kKZro" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Despite the department having received training in avoiding lethal force when dealing with mentally ill persons armed with knives, the situation played out like a nightmare. Five hours of police standoff led to the officers entering the apartment where Phil had retreated to a bathroom, brandishing two knives. Grenon was tased twice. The first time, according to Chief del Pozo, it didn't connect. "The second time… he seemed impervious to the taser."

<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/c_omg3kKZro" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Or at least that's how the chief described it. In the video I personally saw, it looks a lot more like the taser connected and the elderly gentle, jumped in fright and confusion. It was at this point he was gunned down. This isn't the only instance like this in Burlington either. In November 2013 Burlington shot and killed a mentally ill man who was approaching them with a shovel.

This unfortunately goes on everywhere though. <a href="http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/home-page/71-featured-articles/2846-people-with-mental-illness-four-times-more-likely-to-be-shot-and-killed-by-police">1/4 of police fatalities</a> this year so far were mentally ill.

Despite the department having received training in avoiding lethal force when dealing with mentally ill persons armed with knives, the situation played out like a nightmare. Five hours of police standoff led to the officers entering the apartment where Phil had retreated to a bathroom, brandishing two knives. Grenon was tased twice. The first time, according to Chief del Pozo, it didn't connect. "The second time… he seemed impervious to the taser."

Or at least that's how the chief described it. In the video I personally saw, it looks a lot more like the taser connected and the elderly gentle, jumped in fright and confusion. It was at this point he was gunned down. This isn't the only instance like this in Burlington either. In November 2013 Burlington shot and killed a mentally ill man who was approaching them with a shovel.

This unfortunately goes on everywhere though. <a href="http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/home-page/71-featured-articles/2846-people-with-mental-illness-four-times-more-likely-to-be-shot-and-killed-by-police">1/4 of police fatalities</a> this year so far were mentally ill.

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