Vancouver police arrest mentally ill man threatening to kill police
According to Vancouver police, eight people are arrested daily under the Mental Health Act
A man arrested on the weekend for threatening to kill police officers has been released without charge following a hospital examination, Vancouver police said Tuesday.
The incident, captured on a YouTube video, shows officers armed with Tasers and rifles taking a man into custody in the middle of the busy Pacific Centre mall on Sunday.
The suspect was arrested after he called 911 and told police he wanted to kill an officer.
Police say the man was arrested under the Mental Health Act, taken to the hospital and has since been released.
According to Vancouver police, about eight people are arrested daily under the Mental Health Act, and between 30,000 to 40,000 calls they receive annually involve someone who may be mentally ill.
Although VPD says its officers undergo extensive training for dealing with people who are mentally ill, not all interactions end as peacefully as the one on Sunday.
Last month, Phuong Na Du, 51, was shot and killed by an officer in South Vancouver. At the time, Vancouver police said the man was distraught and waving a 2-by-4. Du refused to comply with officers' directions and bean-bag rounds were fired in an attempt to disarm him, according to police. His friends say Du was mentally ill.
Criminologist and former police officer Rob Gordon said officers are often making difficult decisions on threat levels.
"It's a topic that has to be more aggressively tackled," he said.
"But there are certain situations where police officers — sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of misjudgment — do certain thing that are inappropriate or excessive."
With files from Farrah Merali