To the 4 white male policemen who beat me for checking the health of a sick black man in their…
Ali Afshar

First and foremost, thank you for sharing. I, along with many other readers, appreciate your candor. Furthermore, I want to thank you for your deeply empathetic response to the mentally ill gentleman. I understand that for many it can be quite scary to encounter more severe forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or the psychotic symptoms sometimes displayed in an acute manic epsiode. However, as scary as it can be for us to bear witness to the externalized symptoms, it is often more terrifying for the person experiencing the catalysts for these symptoms (i.e. visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, etc.). I applaud you for acting from a place of compassion. You recognized that this person was clearly, in that moment, debilitated by their disorder. They are victim to an imbalance in their brain; they are victim to a genetic roll of the dice. I think it’s important to retain that perspective. And, from what I read, you share this perspective. The mentally ill deserve concern and care. Due to a lack of information, the general public assumes that schizophrenic persons are violently dangerous. The reality is that while instances of violence may occur, the recipient of this violence is generally the mentally ill person. Those afflicted with this disorder (and this tends to be the case with most mental illnesses that feature violent symptoms) are more likely to seriously injure or kill themselves than to maim you or I.

It breaks my heart into a million pieces to read about how both you and this extremely vulnerable man were treated. I, like you, worry about the gentleman as well. Though, I am glad to know that you are okay or, as okay as one can be after such a traumatic experience.

Do you mind terribly if I ask where you were when this happened? I’m familiar with California procedure when it comes to involuntary psychiatric holds, but I’m curious what the procedures are in other states and countries.

Apologies for the tremendously long response but mental health outreach is of extreme importance to me.