Roger Clark spoke with the voice of a grandfather that was easy to listen to. He was sworn in as an expert in police practices and procedures, carrying with him an extensive background in law enforcement training, policy and implementation. He also testified as to how officers should be dealing with individuals with varying degrees of mental illness and despair.
From the stand, he testified that the officers failed Anthony - failed to diffuse the situation, failed to help him, and failed to see him as beyond being a “threat.”
He heard the dispatch calls, evaluated their actions. It became clear that these officers should have come prepared to help save a life but instead they were ready to take a life — complete with their Violent Crimes Enforcement Team (VCET) gear and mentality.
It’s still puzzling why the police would not bring a team of specialized mental health officers. Approaching a suicide call with a criminal mindset was sad to hear. This shouldn’t be in our community and that behavior should be made accountable. The police gave Anthony about 15 minutes, and that was not enough time to help him. Instead, they responded to a call for help with deadly force.