A Local Experiment in Protecting the Mentally Ill

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Three years ago, a homeless schizophrenic named Kelly Thomas was beaten to death by three police officers in Fullerton. They claimed he was resisting arrest and, when two of the three were found not guilty of murder, charges against the third were dropped. But protecting the mentally ill -- from themselves or others -- is a troubling issue. Yesterday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors decided unanimously to implement Laura's Law, a measure adopted by the state legislature after a woman named Laura was killed by a mentally ill man. The 12-year-old statute provides that cops, family members or other interested parties can ask a judge to order that mentally ill people "seek treatment." Who will decide who's taken to court? How will decision be enforced? Does it violate the civil rights of the mentally ill or protect them from themselves?

va.jpgLater on, To the Point, some eight million Americans qualify for Veterans Administration healthcare, and they’re apparently satisfied—when they can get it.  But it takes so long that 40 or more have allegedly died while waiting for their appointments. The American Legion says VA Secretary Eric Shinseki ought to resign. We hear about an ongoing scandal—especially relevant in LA, with more veterans than any place in the country.


Banner image: Ron Thomas (R) speaks at a news conference on January 14, 2014, about the fatal beating of his mentally ill son, Kelly, after a jury acquitted two ex-policemen of all charges in connection with his 2011 death. Photo: Alex Gallardo/Reuters



Warren Olney