Burlington police were called to the apartment of a 76-year-old man, who by all accounts was mentally ill. I say ‘was’, because as we all know, police are not properly trained to deal with mentally ill citizens.
As in this case, the police, knowing they were dealing with an elderly man who was not in his right mind, burst through his front door and then his bathroom door. When the elderly man still did not come out, the police used a broom to open the shower curtain and then they proceeded to taser him. When that didn’t work, they simply murdered him.
Why do I say murdered? Several police officers were on scene, each equipped with non-lethal means to contain almost any situation. So, I find it hard to believe that several large police officers, several of which were equipped with riot shields, couldn’t contain an elderly man with a knife.
In fact, a spokesman for the Burlington police stated that “We had our ballistic shields, our polycarbonite shields are less than lethal devices.” However, in the videos below, not one officer used those shields to subdue the elderly, frail man. Instead, they did what police always do when someone doesn’t follow their god-like commands – they kill.
Now, all the family has left of Ralph “Phil” Grenon are the memories they once shared, and of course, the bloody scene that officers left behind that day.
The Burlington Free Press ran a story, which I highly recommend you read. It’s titled, Police shooting reignites mental-health debate. In the article, Former Police Chief Michael Schirling stated that
We simply do not have the resources to adequately respond to folks who have critical medical needs in the form of mental health care.
Chief Schirling said those words after the Burlington Police Department killed a mentally ill citizen in 2013. At the time, Schirling noted the police department had seen a 400 percent increase in mental-health related calls over the previous five years. However, he pledged to redouble his efforts to improve police response to people with mental health challenges and expand the number of nonlethal tools police could employ so incidents would not turn deadly.
I find it sadly ironic that I’m writing this article, reading the words of the former chief, knowing that another mentally-ill patient has been killed at the hands of police. The same police, from the same police department, that only two years ago killed another mentally ill citizen. In three years, nothing has changed, except their is another headstone in the local cemetery, and another family left wondering what went wrong.
Cop Block has reported on numerous stories of police killing mentally ill citizens. For an extensive list, please click here.