Recent News and Updates from the CCIT-NYC Team.

Experts Demand Non-Police Alternatives

Mayor De Blasio do you hear all the advocates for mental health recipients and CIT system experts in NYC, we want non police alternatives to crisis calls? Experts Are Demanding Non-Police Alternatives We are still waiting for the promised initiatives from the Mayor’s Taskforce. We hope the focus will be on non police alternatives to crisis calls involving people in emotional distress. One great example is Cahoots from Eugene, Oregon which has operated for 30 years, diverted 17% of 911 calls, and has not had a single injury to their workers of one EMT and one crisis de-escalator. Here is a good article in The Gotham Gazette on Taskforce One of our colleague agencies, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest convinced a judge to release body cam footage of the NYPD encounter with Miguel Richards which lead to his death at age 31 years old. In the meantime, we are still waiting for the Mayor’s Taskforce on Crisis Prevention and Response to issue recommendations and new initiatives. As we wait, people are still being killed. And police are still being forced to respond to crisis that are health concerns that should be responded to in a comprehensive mental health crisis approach. An article in The Progressive proves that many different communities in NYC are calling for alternate response to crisis calls that do not often involve police. Seriously three people were shot in police encounters and then jailed in just April and May. We need social workers and peers to work on mental health crisis and leave a police response just for those small amounts of calls that require law enforcement. Second Queens Woman Shot Bronx Man Killed by NYPD

October 2020 Updates

By Carla Rabinowitz,Project Coordinator Welcome to the website of Correct Crisis Intervention Today NYC: Fighting to Transform Responses to Mental Health Crisis in NYC ccitnyc.org

  • We now have a twitter page, so please follow us @ccitnyc. CCIT-NYC has met with several additional politicians about our pilot proposal to reform mental health crisis responses. Instead of the police, we want one peer and a private EMT responding to the City’s 200,000 annual crisis calls.
Here are a few updates and requests:
  • Re-tweet our Twitter posts from CCITNYC. Use hashtags like #MentalHealthCareNotPolice, #MentalHealthMatters, and similar hashtags, so politicians, reporters and key decision makers can see our platform and the breadth and strength of our coalition.
  • We will co-host a Mayoral Town Hall on mental health issues at 7:00 pm on Thursday December 10 so hold that date. We will soon circulate a flyer that your organization can sign onto.
Unfortunately NYPD has halted it’s CIT training with no solution to the 200,000 crisis calls per year. CCIT-NYC wants that money redirected to a mental health response to crisis calls. click here for article on end of CIT in the Gothamist Our CCIT-NYC coalition members spoke in the Gotham Gazette about the need for a health team response to crisis calls. Police should not be responding to crisis calls, we need a health team response to these calls. click here for Op Ed calling for health team responders Please read our statement about the death of Daniel Prude Daniel Prude’s brutal death at the hands of the Rochester Police Department is horrifying and unacceptable. We send our condolences to his family and loved ones, and to the Rochester community that is grieving his loss. Police, trained to ensure submission and arrest and overly reliant on the use of physical force, are not the proper responders to a person experiencing a mental health crisis. A “peer” with lived, mental health experience, trained in de-escalation technique and paired with an EMT, would have responded more humanely and effectively to Mr. Prude’s health and emotional needs, rather than violently escalate the crisis, as occurred. Mr. Prude should be alive today. We cannot continue to criminalize individuals in crisis. It is unjust, including for our police officers, and dangerous to those most in need of care. This is not the first such killing of this kind, nor will it be the last, unless we move now to enact change. CCIT-NYC calls for the immediate removal of mental health crisis response from law enforcement’s responsibilities, not just in New York but across the country, and the implementation of new, mental health teams. We stand with the people of Rochester, who for the last seven days have risked their own safety to call out this injustice. Alternative, proven models for handling these crises successfully already exist, such as in Eugene, Oregon. Cities like San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, and Toronto are now also moving away from a reliance on police. New York must do the same, and must do so now…. 9.10 Statement about death of Daniel Prude Thanks to everyone who attended our July 23rd and August 5th webinar meetings. CCIT-NYC is still working to remove crisis calls out of the responsibility of the police and to a peer driven health team. To add your name to our contact list, email crabinowitz@communityaccess.org There was yet another death of a person in crisis this summer, George Zapantis, Age 29. Our sympathies to the man’s family and friends. Police should not be responding to health care calls, crisis calls or not. read about the summer 2020 death The New York Times highlighted the debate over right sizing NYPD and moving funding to mental health teams to respond to mental health crisis. click here for New York Times article on right sizing NYPD Great article explaining CCIT-NYC ‘s new proposal which details how to send mental health teams to respond to crisis calls. The article explains why CCIT-NYC no longer believes police training is a solution. Too many people, as of 6.26.2020, 16 have died in 5 years after CCITNYC training started, twice as many as before CIT training. click here for removing police from crisis calls You can read CCIT-NYC complete proposal here: 9.10.2020 CCITNYC Pilot Final CCITNYC Pilot Budget Final

George Floyd

Unfortunately CCITNYC like many other groups needs to address the racist Killing of George Floyd. CCIT-NYC stands with Black Lives Matter and other organizations led by people of color mourning and mobilizing after the killing of George Floyd. The senseless killing of George Floyd is yet another wake-up call to the fact that there is something terribly wrong with the way police interact with Black people and other people of color. Society will no longer tolerate criminalizing Black people, including those experiencing mental health crises. In a vicious cycle, racism exacerbates stress, causing a public health crisis. Police often respond to calls involving a mental health crisis, already viewing the person in crisis as someone with no rights. Allowing police to respond to mental health crises, when NYPD’s job is to investigate crime and arrest people, not provide care, results in excessive force and the deaths and injury of far too many people – sixteen alone in New York City in the last three years, the majority of whom were Black. We need health care responses to health care crises, which means specially trained EMTs and counselors. We need an end to criminalization of people in mental health crises and people who are Black and Brown. The City must cease deploying police in response to mental health crises. Now! We need health care workers to respond to health care crisis, like the 200,000 emotional health interactions with NYPD. This Covid-19 crisis also illustrates why we need health care workers to respond to health crisis, not police. Read this article on how police arrest a mother with young child when she was not wearing her mask right.

Mental Health Care Shouldn’t Come in a Police Car

The CCIT-NYC Coalition thinks the answer to reducing violent encounters with police and people in mental health crisis is to remove police out of the equation as much as possible. We want the City to look to the Cahoots Model in Eugene, Oregon or one of many other non-police alternative models. Ron Bruno, executive director of CIT Utah and 2nd Vice President at CIT International, says mental health shouldn’t come in a police car. Read #Crisis Talk’s post here.

Mayor de Blasio’s new plan to address the 200,000

The Mayor recently released an outline of his plan to address the 200,000 crisis calls a year in NYC. And many advocates believe the plan does not move the city to the non police model, the public health model that our city needs. The CCIT-NYC Coalition was recently in media talking about Mayor de Blasio’s new plan to address the 200,000 crisis calls in NYC.

  • NY1 Spectrum News – City Puts $37M into Changing How Police Respond to Mental Health Crises Calls
  • The City – Mayor’s Mental Health Crisis Response Offers Weak Dose of Care, Advocates Warn
  • WNYC –Advocates Not Satisfied by Mayor’s Plan to Stop Police Shootings of Mentally Ill

Re-Thinking the Police Response to Psychiatric Crises Brochure

Community Access created a brochure which includes the recommendations of mh community brainstorming and history of ccitnyc.org campaign and Mayor’s Taskforce. click here for ccitnyc brochure Another 911 diverson program. This one is new. Cahoots is 20 years old. This is less than two months old and diverted 1,000 calls in 6 weeks click here for another 911 diversion program These diversion programs are what the ccitnyc.org coalition and community access would like to see. 75 people attended the Jan 18th brainstorming to give feedback to Mayor’s Crisis Prevention and Response Taskforce. Please see the presentations and brainstorming recommendations here. At Forum presentations go to Reforming Crisis Services in NYC Recommendations. Item 4 of Forum presentations. click here for Forum presentations Great article in AMNY about our mental health community forum last Friday to help inform the Mayor’s Taskforce on crisis calls and prevention. Thanks everyone Read Brainstorming Article click here for Brainstorming Article

Press Conference calling for Non-Police Alternative

Coverage of our April 2019 press conference calling for non police alternative responses to crisis here. Thanks to the family of Saheed Vassel and other family members for their testimony. Major thanks to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for leading the way. Thanks to the hundred people who turned out, mostly peers to show support for families and new responses to crisis calls.

The final stakeholders meeting of Mayor de Blasio’s Taskforce on Prevention and Crisis Calls is Friday December 14, 2018

The subcommittee on communities was exclusively looking at programs facilitated by neighborhood groups not primarily connected to the mental health community or mh community programs in NYC. This coalition would rather see a peer run program such as those in Phoenix, Arizona or the one featured in the article below about Portland Oregon. The Oregon program has been running for 30 years and features a link to 911 calls which diverts 911 calls to mental health professionals including peers. When Mental-Health Experts, Not Police, Are the First Responders Program In Eugene, Ore., is Viewed as a Model for Reducing Risk of Violence By Zusha Elinson The Wall Street Journal November 24, 2018 In Eugene, Oregon’s third-largest city, when police receive such calls, they aren’t usually the ones who respond. Here, the first responders are typically pairs of hoodie-wearing crisis workers and medics driving white vans stocked with medical supplies, blankets and water. The program in Eugene is unique because Cahoots is wired into the 911 system and responds to most calls without police. The name Cahoots was intended to be a humorous nod to the fact that they are working closely with police. Cahoots now has 39 employees and costs the city around $800,000 a year plus its vehicles, a fraction of the police department’s $58 million annual budget. They are also paid to handle calls for a neighboring Springfield. “It allows police officers to deal with crime, but it also allows us to offer a different service that is really needed,” said Lt. Ron Tinseth of the Eugene Police Department. In contrast to police officers who typically seek to project authority at all times, Cahoots employees dress in black sweatshirts, listen to their police radios via earbuds, and speak in calm tones with inviting body language. When Mr. Walker and his partner Amy May, a crisis counselor, approached a man lying in the middle of the sidewalk on a busy street, they sat down on the cold cement at eye level and asked what he needed. He was thirsty and cold, so they gave him water and a tarp. They suggested places to sleep and the man moved along. That same night, they arrived at the home of a teen who had been punching her mother. The air was thick with tension. They listened to the girl’s story-adults were always trying to control her-as she stood above them on the porch steps. They talked with the mother. After an hour and a half, they brokered a peace treaty devised by the warring parties. “We believe that people are the best experts in their own lives,” said Cahoots worker. click here for Eugene Oregon Diverson program

NYPD Shoot of a Person in Distress

Appears another nypd shooting of a person in distress. A woman who called police often, reports a crime and then dies in a police encounter in her home. The shooting happened within a few minutes. If the Mayor’s Taskforce prioritizes sending social workers rather than police to crisis calls, maybe people like this will get help before it becomes a crisis. Click here to read the news report.

Mayor de Blasio revives the Taskforce

Great News. Mayor de Blasio revives the Taskforce. Makes the Taskforce accountable to two Deputy Mayors and the First Lady McCray. Read our Press Release. Let us all thank the Mayor for doing what needed to be done. Send a letter, an email or telephone someone expressing our gratitude. More work to be done. The Taskforce is just a beginning. OLDER Posts: Seven deaths in nine months. When will the Mayor act? Revive the 2014 Taskforce now. Get police out of the business of responding to families who have a crisis with a son or daughter in emotional distress. Let Saheed Vassell’s death be the last death of a mental health recipient at the hands of the police. Now is the time for the Mayor to act. click here another death

Remembrance of 9 Souls

Thanks everyone for the remembrance for the 9 souls who died in nypd encounters in last two and a half years. They died too soon. And they are missed. Now it is time for the Mayor to respond to this crisis, revive the Taskforce before one more person dies. click here for remembrance ARTICLE IS NOT AVALIABLE

Death of Rex Dasrath

By Carla Rabinowitz, Project Coordinator Rexford Dasrath died in a NYC police encounter in November 2013. He was only 22 years old. The death occurred on 902 Hart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Young Mr. Dasrath had a history of mental health concerns and was on medication. Prior to November 18, Mr. Dasrath had had several other encounters with the police. In these encounters, he had engaged in behavior indicative of a person under acute emotional distress. We have not forgotten Mr. Dasrath, nor the many other mental health recipients who have to navigate a police force not adequately trained to respond to their unique behavior. Nor do we forget how traumatic the experience was for the police officers who killed Mr. Dasrath because they did not have the proper training to de-escalate the situation. Mental health recipients and the NYPD alike have suffered unnecessarily for too long. It is high time for Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton to implement a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model in NYC. CITs prepare the police to recognize and respond to emotionally disturbed person calls and ensure that professional mental health providers are readily available. They are the ONLY WAY to minimize these tragedies.