Would a Mobile Crisis Team Have Saved Marcus-David Peters?

Image of Marcus-David Peters projected onto the Lee Monument.

by James A. Bacon

Marcus-David Peters, fatally shot in 2018 by a Richmond police officer while in the midst of a mental health crisis, has become an icon for criminal justice reform in Virginia. Protesters occupying the area around the Lee statue on Monument Avenue erected a sign (since removed) designating Lee Circle as Marcus-David Peters Circle. Lawmakers named the “Marcus-David Alert” bill after him, requiring all police departments by 2026 to dispatch mental health professionals to emergency situations involving people in mental distress.

The story of how Peters, an unarmed black man, met his demise is a tragic one, and tales like it are all too common. Many police-civilian encounters ending in violence involve people suffering from mental breakdowns. It makes intuitive sense to use trained mental-health professionals to talk them down from the ledge, so to speak, rather than relying on police officers trained primarily in the use of force.

But a close look at how the Peters tragedy unfolded raises questions. Given the rapidity with which events unfolded, would a “mobile crisis team” have made a difference? Would putting mental health professionals into the front line of law enforcement have put their lives in danger?

It so happens that new details of the Peters episode have been laid bare after an in-depth review, released last week, by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette W. McEachin.

Peters, a 24-year-old high school teacher, was shot twice when he charged Officer Michael Nyantakyi. Richmond anti-police activists argued that Peters “needed help, not death.” A review by the previous commonwealth’s attorney, Michael Herring, had found the police action to be justified. But amid the massive protests following the George Floyd killing, Peters’ family and local activists called for a new review. McEachin’s report incorporated new evidence from the police department’s Taser instructor and an examination of Nyantakyi’s body camera. Her conclusion: “The officer’s ultimate decision to use lethal force was a reasonable response to the imminent danger presented to himself and the public by Mr. Peters’ continued violent behavior due to his mental deterioration.”

I cannot find a copy of McEachin’s report online, so, for the narrative that follows, I rely upon the account in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The incident. Peters’ deteriorating mental health apparently had started one to two weeks prior to his death, and his family had expressed concerns about it. The incident in question began around 5:22 p.m. when Peters arrived at the Jefferson Hotel, where he had a part-time job, removed his shirt in the hotel lobby, and had words with another employee. Shortly thereafter, he ran completely naked from the hotel, hopped into his car and drove off. After rear-ending three vehicles, he veered off a nearby Interstate ramp.

Nyantakyi, who observed Peters rear-ending the cars, followed in pursuit to the final crash site. Having undergone CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training, he immediately recognized that Peters was unstable. From the RTD account:

“With his service weapon drawn, he commanded the driver, later identified as Mr. Peters, to remain inside of the vehicle,” McEachin said in the report. “Mr. Peters can be seen and heard yelling, flailing his arms around, and moving his head fervently from side to side. He was so active that his movements caused the vehicle to rock from side to side. In his interview, the officer explained that he feared that Mr. Peters might be reaching for a weapon because he could see him reaching to the passenger side of the cabin. The officer radioed the Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) that the subject inside of the vehicle appeared to be mentally unstable.”

In footage from Nyantakyi’s body-worn camera, Peters was still naked when he exited his car. He climbed, feet first, out of the driver’s-side window — the door was operable, the report found — and was screaming nonsensically as he ran to the highway. He was struck by a passing car, causing him to fall into one of the lanes, where he rolled around and made “snow angels,” the reports said and footage showed.

“The officer further explained that he holstered his firearm and drew his yellow Taser as he moved closer to observe and check on Mr. Peters,” the report said. “Suddenly, Mr. Peters stood and faced the officer who was standing some feet away. He appeared agitated and yelled at the officer to ‘Back the [expletive] up.’ The officer backed up as Mr. Peters advanced. He explained to us that he was attempting to maintain distance between them and to stall in hopes that other units would arrive.

“Mr. Peters then yelled ‘Put that Taser down or I’ll kill you.’ The officer warned that he would deploy the Taser, but Mr. Peters continued to advance on the officer while yelling, ‘Die [expletive].’ The officer deployed his Taser striking Peters with one prong, but it had no effect.”

In his interview with prosecutors, Nyantakyi acknowledged Peters was unarmed, but “indicated that by this point, it was ‘an all-out fight between the two’ of them to gain control over his firearm. The officer further explained that he was wary of engaging hand to hand with Mr. Peters because of his erratic behavior, his unresponsiveness to pain, and fear that Mr. Peters might land on top of him,” the report said.

Nyantakyi shot Peters at least twice, the report said.

Seventy-six seconds elapsed between the time Peters climbed out of the the car window and the time that he was shot. “CIT officers are trained that communication and de-escalation of a volatile situation requires that the officer first establish a safe position for himself and the mentally-ill individual,” wrote McEachin. “There was no time when both the officer and Mr. Peters were in a safe position to make communication and de-escalation possible.”

The counter-factual. Let us conjecture what might have happened if the Richmond Department had fielded a crisis response team.

Given his behavior at the Jefferson Hotel, there would have been little doubt that Peters was having a mental health crisis. This would have been the perfect occasion for the crisis response team to surge into action. But how might that have transpired?

Let’s say someone at the Jefferson Hotel had alerted the police. Where would it have dispatched the crisis response team — to the hotel? Peters had already fled.

Nyantakyi was the one who saw the car crashes and followed Peters. Evidently, he possessed no knowledge of the preceding events at the Jefferson Hotel. He had no way of knowing during the pursuit that Peters was suffering a mental breakdown and no reason to summon the crisis response team.

Upon arriving at the scene, Nyantakyi quickly deduced from Peters’ behavior that he was experiencing a mental health crisis. Let’s say he then called the response team and waited for it to arrive. What would have happened?

Events appear to have unfolded so rapidly — 76 seconds — that the team likely would not have had time to get there before the crisis escalated. Nyantakyi was forced into action by Peters’ aggressive behavior. When his Taser failed, he shot Peters in self defense.

Alternatively, let’s assume that Nyantakyi had held far back to avoid provoking an incident before the crisis team arrived. There is no way of knowing what Peters might have done in the interim. He might have attacked the police officer anyway. He might have stopped a vehicle. He might have run away. He might have done nothing. It’s unknowable.

Also unknowable is what would have happened had a mental-crisis expert appeared on on the scene in time. Would Peters have gotten more agitated or less in the interim? Would the crisis expert have calmed Peters? Would Peters have responded aggressively to the expert’s effort to establish communication? Would Peters have assaulted the crisis expert, and would Nyantakyi, having retreated to the background, been able to prevent an assault?

Another alternative scenario: Let’s imagine that the mental health response team had arrived before police officers did. What if someone had tried to engage Peters and he assaulted him (or her) and there was no armed officer to stop him?

No two situations involving the mentally ill are ever the same. But they all share one thing in common: They are potentially volatile, and they potentially could end in violence.

Thinking it through. What can we conclude from this mental exercise? First, in many instances, the crisis team will not always be the first responders. Police officers will be forced to act in time-compressed situations. Second, team members sometimes will put themselves to risk of violence, especially if they are the first responders. How many crisis team members will join police officers among those assaulted and/or killed in the line of duty?

Hopefully, police departments around the country will learn from experience. Hopefully, police teams will get better at what they do. But out there in the nitty-gritty real world, question how much outcomes will improve.  Still, we won’t know unless we try it. Let’s make every effort to make it work as well as it can, track the outcomes, expand the program if it succeeds, and pull the plug if it fails.

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37 responses to “Would a Mobile Crisis Team Have Saved Marcus-David Peters?

  1. Why not use the old farmer ready for miscreants: salt shot? Never heard of anyone dying from it, and it will definitely stop them in their tracks.

  2. Auto-correct made “remedy” into “ready”

    • Apparently, #6 bird can be used to put your lawyer back in line. Of course, he hit him in the head, so no chance of permanent injury to a lawyer.

      Turn off auto correct and leave the spell checker and suggestions on. You’ll be way happier.

  3. You know. We are talking about a man’s life here — an apparently good and promising man. This talk of salt in a shotgun is simply disgusting. And Jim, you seem sincere but OF COURSE a mental health crisis team might not be able to help in a fast-paced event. Does that mean we shouldn’t set up teams? Are you really that cheap?

    • Does that mean we shouldn’t set up teams? Are you really that cheap?

      Try reading to the last paragraph:

      “Hopefully, police departments around the country will learn from experience. Hopefully, police teams will get better at what they do. But out there in the nitty-gritty real world, question how much outcomes will improve. Still, we won’t know unless we try it. Let’s make every effort to make it work as well as it can, track the outcomes, expand the program if it succeeds, and pull the plug if it fails.”

      Does that answer your question?

      • I don’t know if Mobile Crisis Teams would be beneficial or not, but that case must be made apart from the Marcus-David Peters tragedy. Richmond has many unmet needs. Where would this fall in comparison to others? That question must be asked and answered.

        How many shootings have there been in Richmond in 2020? How many reports written about this problem?

        And if teams are necessary, how many are needed and where will they be deployed? Will they be staffed 24/7?

        What’s the track record for these units in other cities?

        “Hill died in DeKalb County, which was the first county in the state to offer a mobile crisis team to respond to mental-health calls. Each team consists of a registered nurse and a police officer, who together respond to calls and evaluate the best next step for the patient and the people nearby. Where was the unit on the day Hill was shot? Out of service. Its shift didn’t start until 2 p.m.—40 minutes after Hill was shot dead.”


    • The short answer, although the Peters family does like to hear it, is that a crisis intervention team very likely would not have saved Peters.

      The proponents of the legislation pitched these crisis intervention teams as the solution to all such situations. In some cases, they advocated that the police not be involved at all, or peripherally, at best. They should be set up in areas where it makes sense, i.e. urban areas, but one should not be under the illusion that, even in urban areas, they will be the solution to all these events.

      In addition, I fear that the same thing will happen with the establishment of these teams that happened with the limited response to the Creigh Deeds tragedy . The state, and the public, will assume that the mental health crisis has been addressed and lost interest in tackling tougher, and more expensive, solutions.

  4. Leaving aside for a moment whether Crazy Person QRFs should be armed or unarmed, I think a good (better?) use of public funds would be to first more rigorously address the worryingly high incidence of mental illness in urban communities. On balance, I’d rather my taxes go to medication and local renewal efforts than more boxes of Speer Gold Dot. I spend enough on that as it is.

    Our capacity for just governance — the ways civil society encourages communities to live healthy and virtuous lives — has been so hollowed out that societal problems can only be addressed when they disrobe and run hollering down our streets. Maybe this was never a problem of state capacity in the first place, what with the role families and religious institutions once played in warding the vulnerable, but they sure as hell don’t play that role now. Whether at the ballot box or someplace else, I’d like to work toward a new model for this. Salus populi suprema lex.

  5. Self defense courses teach people not only how to take down an assailant but also how to disarm someone with a knife. The military teaches hand to hand combat skills for self defense. Can police officers not also be taught these skills? It would seem that in most cases these skills would be more effective against someone suffering a mental health crisis. With a degree of confidence the officer could leave his weapon locked in the car as he approached an unarmed mentally ill person. When your only tool is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.

    • “Though 6 percent of the general population has served in the military, 19 percent of police officers are veterans, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data performed by Gregory B. Lewis and Rahul Pathak of Georgia State University for The Marshall Project.Oct 15, 2018”

      Hmmm, 1 out of 5 are so trained. But a bullet is easier than NOT eating a dozen doughnuts.

    • Baconator with extra cheese

      Why not just hire Chuck Norris and Steven Segal to teach all cops?
      Because it’s bullshit, that’s why.

    • I studied Tae Kwon Do for 16 years. We learned a lot of self-defense, including disarming attackers with knives. The techniques are potentially effective, but they take extensive and repeated practice to be effective. It’s one thing to look at a training video, in which the moves are stereotyped and rehearsed, and quite another to be in a real-world situation in which an attacker could do anything.

      • I know that felons are prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms. Is Tae Kwon Do training similarly restricted? (sarcasm alert for NN who thinks only he has that right)

        How well does Tae Kwon Do work on attackers with excited delirium who are impervious to pain and often exhibit superhuman strength?

        “Excited delirium syndrome (ExDS) is characterized by extreme agitation and aggression in a patient with altered mental status. Patients with ExDS display violent behavior, increased pain tolerance and superhuman strength. These patients are difficult to physically restrain and continue to struggle even once restrained. Because ExDS produces hyperthermia, patients are often found naked or inappropriately clothed with hot and diaphoretic skin. ”


  6. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I thought about this quite a bit. I have watched all of the videos including the video from the hotel. I don’t see what could have been done differently. Absolutely no one thinks about Officer Michael Nyantakyi. This law enforcement officer had a good record and I am certain that last thing he wanted to do was discharge his weapon. When you view the video what else could he have done given the information he had on hand? What is the collateral damage to this officer and his family? Who mourns for Officer Michael Nyantakyi?

    • Excellent observation.

    • “Who mourns for Officer Michael Nyantakyi?”

      Good point.

      Or those who have been shot, beaten or dragged to their death just in 2020. At times it seems we have more compassion for Tommie the dog than those who protect us. Few in the general public even know their names, much less the trauma faced by their loved ones.

      Jason Scott?
      Rashad Martin?

      What about Katherine Thyne?

      “Katherine M. “Katie” Thyne, 24, a mother of a 2-year-old daughter, is a former Navy sailor who began with the Newport News Police Department as a recruit in November 2018. She had recently been assigned to the South Precinct as a patrol officer.”

      “Thyne’s death Thursday evening — after a traffic stop during which she was dragged about a block and pinned between the fleeing car and a tree — is the Newport News Police Department’s first line-of-duty death in more than 25 years.”


      Do we even want to encourage women to become police officers any more? Would Katie Thyne have been able to wrestle Marcus-David Peters to the ground?

  7. Although I was unaware of this specific incident, I am very familiar with CIT and the program used with PDs around the nation, and its use within Henrico County for the last 30 years, and just this year, within the City of Richmond.

    I have had multiple conversations with Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA), which is the mental health agency within the city that is responsible for the well being of mentally ill people once they have been processed into the system either voluntarily or involuntarily.

    And that is a key point to realize. From the RTD account quoted here, it appears that the 24 year old Mr Peters was not yet “in the system”, that his mental health crisis was his first and last.

    1 – the public needs to be educated on recognizing these signs and be able to more rapidly and effectively take action with a loved one to get them treatment before there is a full blown crisis. I remember my “first time” crisis before a loved one was “in the system” and you learn the hard way, and if you are lucky, do not have a situation like Mr. Peters.

    2 – my situation with RBHA has to do with non-emergency health checks. I was informed that a number of years ago RBHA stopped doing these types of wellness checks because of the danger to the social workers answering calls from family members. A decision was made to have RPD (non emergency phone # is 804-646-0633) answer all requests from the public to perform wellness checks. That means RPD has to roll up to a house/apartment regardless of the situation, which alone can sometimes unnecessarily escalate a mental health crisis .

    3- Most 911 dispatchers now are no longer trained to make decisions about who to dispatch for an emergency call. Usually, Fire/EMS/Ambulance is always dispatched and if needed police.

    So, as pointed out here, Peters never had any mental health intervention made with the awareness that he was having an extreme mental health crisis. It had already escalated to him being in a vehicle, naked, and wrecking into other cars and observed by the officer (who had CIT training).

    It sounds like he had no time to call for backup (not clear from article), but mental illness or not, a police officer’s escalation of force training goes through 4 levels:

    – show the flag (people often stop breaking law just seeing police)
    – verbal commands
    – tool belt – baton, mace, taser, physical constraints (choke holds banned in many forces but still used), and finally the service revolver.

    In all cases, the biggest risk when someone physically threatens an armed officer, mentally unwell or not, the officer has to prevent being overpowered such that their gun is taken from them and used. That sounds like what happened here, a tragedy because Mr Peters did not get the mental health treatment he needed before this escalated into a full blown crisis.

    My solution is to have joint teams to respond to 911/non-emergency calls for identified mental health crises/wellness checks, with the mental health social worker in the lead and the police as back up for physical protection if needed.

    As noted, the Police have the communications systems and location presence to be on scene more rapidly tied into the 911 dispatch systems – RBHA has nothing like that and could not and should not try to recreate it.

    RBHA crisis counselors should have communications capability tied to specific RPD CIT-trained officers on shift duty such that coordination of responding to mental health crises can be coordinated.

    But, in order to do that the dispatchers for 911 calls will need to have their training changed (they could have other police/RBHA staff in 911 office) such that they have specific discretion as to who to dispatch for a specific call.

    This is not an easy problem to solve but it is not unsolvable, but will take detailed look at the intersection of public safety and mental health services and how those two systems often interact, which means greater integration of the two is long overdue.

    I don’t have the data for Richmond, but in many other localities the jails are the residential housing for many of the mentally ill, often with 40% of residents housed there that would be better served being somewhere else.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I don’t have a great deal of knowledge on a Crisis Intervention Team. Can you provide an example of an actual CIT situation that worked as intended? What kind of training is involved for CIT member? Is it as rigorous as law enforcement? Are CIT members professionalized, accredited, and licensed? Who has the authority to make the decision in a situation? Law Enforcement or the CIT that has also responded? Do they have uniforms? Do they have their own special vehicles? Do they have tranquilizers or a means to knock out somebody who has lost control of themselves and are a threat? This is all very new to me and I am sincerely interested in how this works with results.

    • All these are excellent suggestions. However, as noted, this incident originated with police, not through a 911 call, but with the police officer observing a car slamming into other cars. It was not until the car had stopped did the police officer have any indication that he was dealing with a person in a mental health crisis. He radioed this information to the police dispatch service. There was no time to take any further steps.

  8. In this particular case, nothing may have helped. We could have had the best trained police officers accompanied by medically trained personnel and everything could have turned out exactly as it did. I trust JWWV’s interpretation of the videos.

    So long as we begin from the point of view that there is nothing wrong in the police force, that things happen because the police had no choice, then we will never correct the situation.

    We cannot change one side of this equation. People with mental issues will be out there — always. Unless we spike the tapwater with Prozac, these threats from the population aren’t going to change.

    So we have to change the police; the way they are trained, and the way they are reviewed for continued employment as police officers. You cannot have guys like this on the force. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/police-officer-shoots-chihuahua-arkansas-keenan-wallace-a8715041.html

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      “So we have to change the police; the way they are trained, and the way they are reviewed for continued employment as police officers.”

      I think this is going to happen. Leadership and policy makers need to get this right. The job of law enforcement was always hard. Now it is going to be an even greater challenge. Where are we going to find candidates to take on this greater challenge? A step 1 Fauquier County deputy makes less than a cashier at WaWa.

      • Wait, I thought the answer was to defund the police. I’m confused.

      • Maybe not, James. Professionalism always attracts better people. It’s easier when the people you’re working with don’t make the job harder. Racists make life harder for everyone.

        I’m willing to believe it isn’t systemic racism. It’s a “few bad apples”, so let’s do the easy job and get rid of them.

        BTW, I have always favored paying them more, and really good life benefits.

  9. Exactly, give them salt shot.

  10. James – Crisis Intervention Training was originally developed at the University of Missouri. It has been endorsed by the National Alliance for Mental Illness and they assist in funding for training police officers.

    Each police jurisdiction usually has a lead officer who is the CIT liason, the one who ensures all PD are trained. In Henrico County, it is Officer LT Cindy Wood, who I have spoken with on numerous occasions and coordinated health checks with her and the Lakeside Officer in charge. When there is involvement and anticipation ahead of time, often not possible, crises and extreme bad outcomes can be avoided.

    It works all the time. You can go to youtube and search “de-escalation” and see examples of this. My favorite from several years ago, which I can no longer find (it was front page of Baltimore Sun), was a text book case – all videoed by police body camera. A severely mentally ill person was attempting “suicide by cop” and was armed with a knife. He was surrounded by Baltimore PD and the lead officer, the one closest and doing the talking, empathized with the person, told him his own story, how nobody wanted him to die. The person eventually dropped the knife and offered his hands to be cuffed. It was absolutely incredible and the model of one time a successful outcome.

    Here is a link to CIT. https://nami.org/Advocacy/Crisis-Intervention/Crisis-Intervention-Team-(CIT)-Programs

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Thank you. Very informative. Officer Michael Nyantakyi appears to have been trained in CIT. The officer gave Mr. Peters a great deal of space to monitor him and contain to a degree. Weapon was initially was drawn and then put back in holster. Taser drawn next. When Peters goes out into I 95 and hit by a car the officer still maintains space. Guard rail between Peters and the officer. Then Peters approaches the officer. Taser discharged no effect. Officer is walking back this entire time trying to maintain space. Only when Peters closes with the officer is the weapon drawn and discharged. A witness claims that he and Peters smoked pot together after Peters worked at the Essex county school and was home. Then proceeds to the Jefferson Hotel. How did the toxicology report miss that? Was the pot laced with something that would contribute to the episode? 4:30 to 5:30. That is the time between Peters going home, visiting the hotel, and a dreadful end. How does somebody fall apart that quickly? Officer Michael Nyantakyi had about 15 seconds to work with between the direct approach of Peters and the discharge of the weapon. No matter what we do there will be occasions such as what happened between Officer Michael Nyantakyi and Mr. Peters. Nonetheless, CIT teams and law enforcement seems like a positive idea for situations that do allow the time for measured steps back from a volatile crisis.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      I came across a Richmond story today. Richmond Police Department Officer Jason Jones. Used CIT training to stop someone who had poured gasoline all over themselves from using a lighter to ignite. Good story with a good ending. The CIT training worked this time. Very close call though. One flick of the bic and it would have ended very badly. Officer Jones should be commended very quick thinking and thankfully having the time to use the CIT training. Very few people have a job that requires that kind of skill and temperament.

  11. This is a wonderfully informed thread of discussion on many levels, macro and micro. Here, what jumps out at me as result of this discussion on the micro level is that this particular police officer in this particular rapidly enfolding event had no choice but to fire his weapon not only in self-defense but in defense of the community, given the uncontrollable nature of the assailants assault that so abruptly confronted the officer. Almost instantly the officer had no margins for error left.

    Here is the unavoidable irony and tragedy. The first-responder here had to be armed with a revolver to protect him or herself and, as a result, could not afford to lose the battle and thus lose control the weapon to the assailant. Nor should any first-responder caught up in such circumstances be required to risk being beat to death or being beat to the point of severe injury, allowing the assailant to continue his rampage against other innocents. In such cases, the assailant’s mental condition becomes irrelevant, however tragic that reality may be.

  12. I see similar unsafe ideas here as to the news media. As the Future Occupant said, just shoot them in the leg, c’mon man! Dementia addled near octogenarians aside, everyone knows you shoot for center mass. An extremity shot is near impossible to make in a tense evolving situation and unlikely to provide the necessary stopping power.

    A similar bad idea espoused above is to engage a combatant in hand to hand combat. Training or not, you’re engaging someone who often has no fear, feels no pain, and may if on drugs have multiple times the strength of a typical man. I recently watched a video where a man charged the cop, was shot multiple times at near point blank range, still managed to take down the officer, wrestle his service weapon away from him, and was not stopped until the second officer arrived and put 6 rounds into him, after the man had released the first officer and charged the second. But by all means, if you’re trained in self defense you’re probably ready for this.

  13. The trouble with hand-to-hand combat is that the officer is carrying a loaded weapon. Lose the weapon and lose your life.

    Meanwhile, another “person of color” has finally started to get some justice in Fairfax County. After the Feds whitewashed two Park Police officers who shot Bijian Ghaisar to death he has been indicted by the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

    Where is the outrage from the left at the lack of murder charges? Where are the protesters? Where are the efforts to rename traffic circles?

    The reality is that, in the minds of the left, Bijan Ghaisar was just an inconvenient American of Asian descent who can safely be forgotten. He was not a “person of color”. His life didn’t matter.


  14. When I stood shore patrol overseas all of us were trained on the use of the baton. It was deemed to be adequate to control rowdy sailors and is still carried by police officers and if not then it should be. This training stays with a person and is easy to maintain effectiveness.

  15. What crime did Mr. Peters commit that qualified him for the “death penalty”? He did not put a hand on the officer and he did not reach for the officer’s weapon. Would he have done so well we will never know. This is not so say that Officer Nyantakyi wanted to shoot Mr. Peters as he clearly did not. It does seem without question that there should be a way to take a naked, mentally ill, unarmed man into custody.

  16. Great idea, W.S. ( Though I doubt it will satisfy VaNavVet)

  17. Well, it appears that none of the BR readers, including me, knew about the new law signed by Governor Northam on November 5 – the “Marcus-David Peters Act, a new law that aims to change the way that Virginia law enforcement and first responders react to people experiencing emergency mental health crises.

    It will require the creation of a statewide crisis response system, dubbed the mental health awareness response and community understanding services, or MARCUS Alert, that is staffed with mental health clinicians to work alongside local law enforcement when responding to mental health and substance abuse-related emergency calls. ”

    Piloted in Prince William County, they will be joined by Henrico, Virginia Beach, Rockingham, Alexandria, Fairfax – and the Northwestern Community Services Board in Warren County.


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