A Grand Challenge author, Matthew Epperson, had this Op-Ed published January 13, 2016 in the New York Times.
NEARLY 20 years ago, I was a social worker in a county jail where I first began to understand just how frequently the police deal with people with mental illnesses. Run-ins with the police were a regular occurrence for many of my clients, with officers often knowing them by name. They were overwhelmingly poor, and poor people with mental illnesses are also likely to experience homelessness and substance abuse — issues that place them at increased risk of police contact and incarceration.
All too often, those interactions can end in violence and death, as was the case with 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer last month. Responding to a 911 call made by Mr. LeGrier’s father, officers found Mr. LeGrier wielding a baseball bat, and one officer quickly opened fire.