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[USA Today] More Cities are Sending Civilian Responders, Not Police, on Mental Health Calls

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

NEW YORK – Mildred Galarza and Hawa Bah wish it were someone other than armed police officers who first encountered their loved ones when they were having mental health crises.

Galarza's brother, Ariel, 49, died in 2016 after being Tasered three times by police when a neighbor in the Bronx called 911 to report a man with a knife who was pale, screaming and breathing heavily, a state report said.

Bah’s 28-year-old son, Mohamed, died in 2012 when police shot him multiple times in his Harlem apartment. Hawa Bah said she called for an ambulance while she was visiting from Guinea because she thought her son was depressed and needed medical attention.

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