In a case of police brutality, an inmate suffering from a mental health disorder was shot in the head by a deputy in August 2015, according to a video that has emerged. The reports said that Matthew Trevino was experiencing a schizophrenic episode when he was shot by Corrections Officer Robert Hass at the Pasco County Jail in Florida using a 12-gauge shotgun.
As per a local television station earlier that day, Trevino was booked into the cell on a probation violation. However, the situation worsened when the officers tried to search his room for contraband. To do so, they had to handcuff Trevino and asked him to put his hands through a slot in front of the door. However, Trevino refused and instead showed his genitals to the officers and screamed incoherently.
An unnecessary step
According to the reports filed by officers involved in the incident, the man stepped back giving a “window of opportunity” to Cpl Haas to fire a round at him. A videotape of the alleged incident that was captured by another officer is now likely to form part of a civil rights lawsuit. According to Trevino’s attorney Mark Rankin, given that Trevino was right up to the door, it was completely unnecessary for Haas to aim at him. According to Rankin, it was not an emergency situation and therefore, there was no reason for the officer to forcefully enter the cell.
As per Sheriff Chris Nocco, the firing happened because “A criminal with a violent history failed to comply with lawful directions.” However, Trevino had no past incidence of a conviction for violent crime.
Not first case of police brutality
In January 2018, a mentally ill man lost his life in police custody. Marconia Kessee (34) was arrested after refusing to leave the hospital post his treatment but died two hours later in a cell at the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center.
As per a body cam footage shared by the Cleveland County jail and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma, while Kessee tried to explain to the officers that he had come to the hospital in need of help, the officers could be seen terming his actions as an attempt to get re-admitted in the hospital and mocking him by asking him to “stop with the show.” According to the victim’s uncle, instead of sending Kessee to jail, he should have been sent to a crisis center.
Happy to help
Schizophrenia is a disabling illness that affects an estimated less than 1 percent of the adult American population in a year. The illness affects both males and females equally. While the exact causes of the disease are not known, a host of factors can be the reason behind the disease – genetics, neurotransmitter imbalances, abnormalities in brain structure, and prenatal (viral infections during pregnancy) and environmental factors. There is no complete cure for the disorder but an effective treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and decreasing chances of a relapse. One should not delay the treatment or things can spiral out of hand.
A leading behavioral and substance abuse health care provider, Sovereign health of Florida provides top-notch treatment for a range of mental disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Depending on the severity of the disease, schizophrenia disorder treatment might involve medications, psychotherapy and other experiential therapies. For more information on various treatment plans offered at our reputed schizophrenia treatment centers, call our 24/7 helpline number. You can also chat with a representative to know more.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.