Many of the deaths at the hands of police are underscored by a common thread of mental health needs that often goes ignored by the public. The latest example of a black person being killed while suffering from an “episode” is Desmond Phillips, 25, who was shot after his father called police to their shared apartment in Chico, California.
Phillips’ father, David, called police around 7:15 p.m. PST after his son started acting differently. Apparently, this behavior was similar to shat Phillips had shown in the past and David and any other family in the home would shut themselves in their rooms.
“I called , and I told them, I said, ‘You can come over here. He’s kicking the door,’ and he’s done that before,” David told Action News Now.
When police arrived, they claim they found Phillips pacing int he living room holding two knives. They failed to calm him down and left the apartment after Phillips reportedly forced them out and slammed the door after them.
The officers, who are currently on paid administrative leave, then re-entered the apartment, used a taser on Phillips and then shot him as he allegedly slashed at the officers.
“Due to the now imminent threat to the father and to the two children inside the apartment that was posed by the armed subject,” Chico Police Department Chief Mike O’Brien went on, “officers gained entry through the front door apartment in order to protect them.
Witnesses, including Phillips’ father who was still in the other room during the shooting, claim they heard between seven and 10 gunshots. The official number won’t be released until after an autopsy, according to Color Lines.
The officers in the Chico Police Department don’t wear body cameras, so their report on what occurred can’t be proven given that no one else was in the room.
A GoFundMe page has been started by Phillips’ family to help with the cost of his funeral services and has raised just over $3,000 on Tuesday morning.