A Statement from The Interfaith Council of Alameda County
The death of Mario Gonzalez while in the custody of the Alameda Police on Monday, as well as other violent and deadly interactions between representatives of local police forces and members of the communities they serve, stand as tragic reminders of the need to reform the way the communities of Alameda County respond to people experiencing mental health crises.
A 2020 report from National Public Radio notes, “Since 2015, nearly a quarter of all people killed by police officers in America have had a known mental illness. Injuries, too, are common although they are less carefully tracked. There’s anecdotal evidence that botched encounters between police and people in a mental crisis are up during the pandemic.”
The lives of persons with mental illness matter. It is our shared faith that mental illness is neither a moral failing nor a spiritual shortcoming. It is a sickness that touches almost every family. We demand a more just and humane response to those who suffer.