Did Moorhead Police Officer Use Excessive Force On Suicidal North Dakota Woman?
In 2018, Inforum reported that a Fargo woman named Jennifer Thomas was arrested at Buffalo Wild Wings in Moorhead because she was carrying a BB gun and being suicidal. While Jennifer was in handcuffs, she was reportedly defiant and ended up getting pepper-sprayed, was tackled to a bed, and took some hits to the face (VIDEO). In April, Jennifer sued Officer Matthew Lambert for $500,000, claiming he used excessive force that night she was arrested.
Inforum states that Jennifer has a history of mental illness and that she was suffering from a mental health crisis when police were called that night. According to Inforum, Jennifer had "a nasal bone fracture, contusions, lacerations, and other injuries after being arrested." A person in a mental health crisis needs to be treated differently than other hostile situations.
While possessing a BB gun and talking suicide in public is never excusable, it is also inexcusable to slam around someone in a mental health crisis. If you cannot control an already restrained person without breaking bones, maybe you should not be in charge of detaining someone.
Some people do wrong just to do it. Others do wrong because they do not have a grasp on reality or right from wrong. From personal experience in dealing with severe mental health issues, a person in the middle of a crisis of that magnitude cannot comprehend what is happening in the world around them. And beating the person up does nothing but cause more problems.
While it is true that Jennifer needed to be detained that night, she did not need to have her bones broken by someone whose job is to deescalate aggressive situations. Talking about mental health is bigger now than ever. And we need to talk about how to deal with people who may not be able to control their minds and actions.