Alabama: For parents of 36-year old Melissa Boarts, a manic-depressive struggling with suicidal tendencies, a call for help to 911 turned out to be a death knell.
Melissa’s mother, Terry Boarts, noticed her daughter’s odd behaviour when she had gone to pick up her two-year-old granddaughter on Sunday in Auburn, Alabama. She had heard Melissa heading to the drawing room, and followed her there to speak to her, only to realize that she had left.
Using the GPS installed in Melissa’s car, her family managed to track her down, but got stuck in traffic.
“We were able to find out she was headed on the interstate going to Auburn. She was threatening to slit her wrists with a knife,” said Terry. Fearing that she might hurt herself, they called 911 for assistance.
Terry told the police that her daughter was "having mental issues, that she was bipolar, that she had been really depressed, that she was saying she was going to cut her wrists." She also informed them that Melissa was carrying a knife.
After a while, the officer on the call told them that her car has suddenly come to a halt. While her parents figured Melissa’s car had probably hit a tree, it turned out that she was shot down by the police because she “charged at them with an unidentified weapon,” prompting “an officer to open fire and kill her.”
According to a report in The Washington Post, 1,100 people have been killed in the United States by police officers, out of which at least a quarter of those people suffered from mental illness or similar problems. The analysis has found that the officers involved in such cases are not trained to deal with people suffering from mental illness.
Melissa’s parents are now pursuing legal action, as they do not believe their daughter could have threatened the police with a mere pocketknife. Their attorney echoes their sentiment, stating that shooting her was “totally unjustified”....