Civil Lawsuit Filed for Excessive Force
(TX) – A 26-year old woman has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Austin. Simone Griffith was arrested in October for sleeping on a sidewalk and refusing to leave. Griffith is homeless and according to the lawsuit, is “profoundly mentally ill.” The police officers attempt to take Griffith into custody, but it quickly turns into an assault. At one point, Simone Griffith is kneed in her torso. Then an officer punches her on her head eight times, with a closed fist.
Police Department Needs to Start an Internal Affairs Investigation
According to the Austin police department, the use of force is reviewed in a multi-step process. The statement ends with the following: “At any time during this review, if it determined there are possible policy violations, an Internal Affairs investigation will be initiated.”
Austin Police Department has History of Abuse
The City of Austin may be a liberal city, but they have the same kind of police problems that can be found all over the country. There have been many complaints of excessive force used by Austin police officers. Even when an attempt is made by a police department to fix a problem, they rarely address it where it starts.
The suit calls out Austin Police Academy training specifically. Attorney Rebecca Webber, who serves on the city’s Public Safety Commission, asserts in the lawsuit that officers at the academy “were trained to treat unhoused people like vermin.” The suit cites 2018 American-Statesman reporting, when a former cadet related that instructors told cadets they would punch them in the face if they said they wanted to be officers to help people.
Abuse of the Mentally Ill
There was a sentence in the Austin American-Statesman article that caught my attention.
Simone Griffith, 26, has lived in Austin for about a year and a half, since a caseworker from another Texas county dropped Griffith off after she was released from a psychiatric institution for mental illness, her lawsuit says.
The caseworker drove Ms. Griffith to a different county and dumped her there. It was a way to get rid of a problem. This is something most people don’t realize happens, but it does. And it’s not just government employees. Families do it too when they can’t take dealing with a mentally ill person anymore.
The police officers used excessive force. There is no doubt about that. But this situation would not have happened if we, as a society, hadn’t turned our back on our mentally ill. Ms. Simone Griffith will more than likely, win her lawsuit. The taxpayers will once again pay for the police violence by officers. Some civil attorney will make a lot of money. And nothing will be done to fix either problem.
You can watch the full video here, or see a slightly shorter version below.