Agency: Jamaica cops deal poorly with mentally ill

AP News
Posted: May 15, 2013 6:36 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — An independent agency that investigates abuse allegations against Jamaica's security forces says the island's police need training in how to deal with mentally ill citizens.

A report from the Independent Commission of Investigations says 75 percent of police confrontations with mentally ill suspects end in fatalities. It says six people believed to suffer from mental illnesses were killed by police in 2011.

Commissioner Terrence Williams told reporters at a Wednesday news conference that police display a lack of patience when dealing with mentally ill citizens. His agency is calling for non-lethal weapons to be used to minimize fatalities and training courses to teach officers how to defuse tense situations.

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The commission started operations in August 2010. It now is investigating roughly 1,600 cases of alleged abuses, some dating back years.